It has been a while since I’ve written here and even longer since I’ve written two posts in two days. I was just thinking through my day trying to come up with something to write about this evening. There are many things I could write about such as why do kids keep asking adults the same question after they’ve been given an answer they don’t like? It is the early version of seeking a second medical option? Another thought was what lessons are our children learning when we have to have a school holiday party 2-days before the actual party because we share a PTA with another school and they’re doing their party on Friday? I think I’ll write about those things later because tonight I’m going to write about writing.
One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing. I don’t know if I do a great job at it but I do think my students’ writing improves greatly from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Okay, so a little reality check. My students are in kindergarten. Many of them start the year barely able to write their name and all the letters of the alphabet. It would be hoped, and expected, that my students would be able to write more than just their name and the letters. I am a bit of a black sheep in my grade-level when it comes to writing instruction and I blame myself for that. Most of my other colleagues have students do fill in the sentence type of writing, or some prompt based writing lesson. That is a system that works for them and they are happy with the results they are getting. That is fine with me. I, on the other hand, teach writing in a workshop style, similar to Calkins and Routman recommend. So I have genre themes that last for about a month. In that month I teach about the genre and the students write in that genre. Currently we are working on song writing. Actually it is more accurate to call it song parody writing. We listen to a song, many times, on YouTube (I would share the song but I am currently trying to get an article about this writing published. I’ll add the link once my article has been picked up). Once the students have a good grasp of the music structure of the song, we start having a little fun with the words. Using music that students already know also helps free up their brain to focus on some skills, such as leaving space between words and -ing endings. As a class they have been working on their own parodies for about 2 weeks and it amazes me the number of students who are not picking up on the pattern of the song–or are not interested in going back and checking their work. This development is shocking to the reading specialist and I today. We spent a good week working up to having the students write their own songs by working on leaving space between words and -ing ending. These are the two things that are being left out of the samples we saw. So here’s kind of a question to the larger (although not terribly huge) audience of this blog about how to help students slow down and understand the importance of going back and looking over your writing before publishing?
Now it is my turn to look over what I’ve written (I did a very poor job) before I press publish–I’m starting to type words with closed eyes.