We are writing teaching books! Our new books are titled All About _____. We have discussed all the of the things we are experts on, things that we know tons about! We have broken down 1 topic that we know all about into "chapters" or "categories" so that each page we write is a new sub-topic. The kiddos are so excited to be writing "chapter books". One of the more challenging parts of this unit is using our teaching voice and not our story telling voice. You can work with your children at home by naming topics and sub-topics, by using a teaching voice or having your child teach you about something and then name, "You just used your teaching voice, just like you would in an All About book!" The more these differences are modeled, the more students will grasp the concepts. This is our last writing unit until these little ones are FIRST GRADERS! :)
Next week we wrap up our Opinion writing! We will begin writing All About ____ books! We will discuss things we are experts on and things we can teach others. These are topics that students will know a lot about all on their own! This will be informational style writing. We are beginning to focus more on writing using spaces, lower case letters throughout, punctuation at the end, and nice neat letters! Please work on these things at home. Making a fun journal for writing or having your child write letters to family and friends is fun too!
When we return, we will have 2 weeks left of writing opinion pieces. We will have a week of learning how to edit and finalize a writing piece and we will have another week to show what we know with a post-assessment and celebrate all of our hard work on writing opinions!
We have wrapped up our How-to books! We have shared them via SeeSaw, which is so much fun to record and watch. Our next writing adventure is into persuasive writing. In this unit, students will focus on how they can use their words to make a change. We will write about how we can make our school a better place, giving reasons, consequences and even learning how to turn our writing into speeches. We will write letters to persuade change and continuing to work on fancying up our writing. We will also start working on using the word "because" in our writing. We are working more and more on writing more words on the page. We are encouraging students to write 2 sentences on a page, still assuming that not all words are spelled correctly (except sight words). We have taught students that all words have vowels, so we expect when sounding out an unknown word, it should have a vowel somewhere.
This is the time of year we really start to see a lot of growth in students' writing!
During the past week, we have had many schedule changes which have occurred during writing. We will continue to work on writing our how-to books, we are really focusing on writing directions in steps, each page is a new step. We are also showing students how to tell between narrative stories and how-to books. This has been a big challenge for many. As you go through steps at home, discuss with your kids that this is something they could write a how-to book about. Some examples are brushing teeth, taking a bath, making food, cleaning up, getting ready for school or bed, etc. It is important to discuss that these are not stories about a time when we did these things, but steps HOW to do these things.
As we continue to write how-to books, we are really focusing on writing directions in steps, each page is a new step. We are also showing students how to tell between narrative stories and how-to books. This has been a big challenge for many. As you go through steps at home, discuss with your kids that this is something they could write a how-to book about. Some examples are brushing teeth, taking a bath, making food, cleaning up, getting ready for school or bed, etc. It is important to discuss that these are not stories about a time when we did these things, but steps HOW to do these things.
We are finishing up our Narrative writing and finally moving into something different. After Winter Break, we will be teach a style of information writing. We will be writing How-To books. When we write how-to books we will decide on a topic to tell in a step by step way. We will describe how to do something over 4 or more detailed steps. We will be writing how-to books until the end of February!
At home: you can talk with your child when doing things, telling the steps in a step-by-step way (first, second, third, fourth, OR first, next, and then, last). When doing things involving steps, point them out and make a point to discuss with your child that this is something they could write about. Some examples: getting ready for bed, getting ready for school, cooking dinner.
As we continue to write narratives we are focusing on adding more and more details, included how the characters felt. We don't want to just write about what happened, we want to say how it made us feel.
As we have a week off from school, discuss with your child when things happen, they can write about it! Writing is a fun way to share our stories. Talking about true moments as they happen, will help students to translate their stories to paper when they come back to school! We want to now include feelings in our stories like happy, sad, scared, excited, etc.
As our Show & Tell unit is concluding, we have focused so much on showing ALL the parts of something important. We have seen so much growth in just the one unit with how the students are writing more sound and sight words and even drawing more pictures in their details. I know it might be frustrating as a parent, seeing work that is difficult to read and understand, but we celebrate their hard work and efforts put in! What is most important at this age, is enjoyment.
In our upcoming unit, we will still be writing narratives (true stories). The next unit "Writing for Readers", focuses on writing stories that are easier to read (easier to read pictures, using details and colors in pictures, having spaces between words, using vowels, etc.). At home, you can continue to discuss small moments in your lives that your child could write about. Phrase the discussions in parts, i.e. "What happened first?", "What did we do next?", "What did we do last?". This will help them to translate the true moments in their lives to stories at school.
This next writing unit will last us through to Winter break!
Our students are LOVING this writing unit. We are focusing on drawing with more and more detail and labeling our objects we've drawn with descriptive words! We do not focus on proper spelling words (unless it is a sight word that we've learned), instead we focus on being brave spellers, using the letter sounds we know to write the sounds we hear in words. This is a developmental skill and there are certain spelling patterns students do not learn until 1st or 2nd grade. Our biggest focus is on the amount of detail and the ideas put on the pages.
We understand that seeing a grade less than 'S' can be frustrating or confusing, but it is important to remember that for most students, this is their first experience with true writing lessons and structure in the subject. We, as teachers, know that students will show a lot of growth within the upcoming writing units and that is more our focus than a "good grade" right now. We want students to enjoy writing and sharing their ideas, putting their thoughts into writing and not be stressed over having words spelled correctly.