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Five Steps to Get Your Little Ones Writing

Hi There!  It's Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class 
 During my travels and presenting at conferences around the country there is one question that I'm most often asked,  "HOW can I teach my kids to write ?"  Many teachers are intimidated by the thought of teaching writing, and they often ask,  "Where do I begin?"  The answers to these questions are really quite simple. Model what writing looks and sounds like and provide your students with opportunities to write each and every day.  Each session of Writer's Workshop begins with a whole class mini-lesson that typically lasts about 10 minutes.  The units are broken down into units of study so that we are zooming in and focusing on one type of writing at a time.  
  When you take it one step at a time, you will soon see that writing isn't intimidating at all.  Your students will love writers workshop time and so will you.   
Step Start Writer’s Workshop From DAY ONE
Students learn to write by writing.  Little ones see themselves as writers long before they are even able to put letters and words on a page because they understand that the meaning comes from their pictures.  Embrace that first step in writing and celebrate the success of your students as you encourage them to add more details to their pictures to help them "write" their stories. 

In the picture above you will notice that the student drew a picture of a scarecrow and then labeled some of the parts.  The meaning comes from the picture.  When I asked her to tell me about her story she said,  "This is a scarecrow.  She stands in the field to scare the birds away from the corn."

Can you find the meaning of the picture above?  I'll give you a minute to look closely at the details and see if you can figure out what this little writer was trying to let the reader know. 

Did you figure it out?  Do you see the Spider-Man t-shirt that this little one is so proud of?
"I got a Spider- Man t-shirt."  He even attempted to use some words in his writing by using the word wall as a resource.

 Step 2 Be Consistent
Students need time to write EVERY day.  Writer's Workshop at the beginning of the year may only last for three minutes, and it might be a hot mess. :)   Each day through consistent routines you are helping your kids build their writing stamina.  "Boys and girls yesterday we were able to exercise our writing muscles for three whole minutes!!! WOW! I'm so proud of you.  Do you think today we can exercise our writing muscles and build four minutes of stamina?"  You will be amazed in a few months when your students can sustain their writing for 30-40 minutes.  

Step 3 Have HIGH Expectations
During Writers Workshop time we write.  The expectations are clear.  We learn to write by writing and we:
1.  Work on stamina and write the whole time.
2. We use tools to help us write.
3. We add details to our writing.
If a student is finished before writing time is over, we have them go back and add more details to their writing.  We are building the expectation that writers do their best work, add details and sustain their writing. Otherwise, you may get a few scribbles on a page and see lots of paper wasted. In later units, we will allow them to start a new piece.  

Step Allow Your Writers to Choose Their Own Topics
Katie Wood Ray says it best, “By definition, writing is about having something to say, and it is the writer's right to decide what this will be, to decide what she wants to say. At the very heart of writing well is personal topic selection. Topic selection in writing is also rigorous curriculum; it's what writers out in the world really have to do.”

AMEN, Katie! I could not agree more!  

If you want kids to be passionate writers, then you simply have to let them write about what they are passionate about.  How excited would you be if someone gave you a paper that told you to write about how to wash a car or a journal prompt that you told you to write about riding a school bus?!  and let's be honest, when you give students writing prompts they will write for about five minutes, and they are d-o-n-e!  Writer's Workshop is not writing to a prompt.  It is about becoming real authentic writers who write for a purpose.  
Think about how excited your students are when they get to school in the morning and have something to tell you.  It's the same for Writers Workshop.  Students can't wait to write about learning how to ride a bike or about getting a new Spiderman t-shirt.  

Step 5 Please Don’t Spell For Your Students or Write On Their Work
Students will need an environment where their efforts and approximations will be encouraged and applauded.  They must feel safe to take risks as they embark on their writing journey.  If you start out spelling words for your students, they will use you as a crutch, and they may never become independent writers.  Just tell them from the very beginning to try their best.   

Jennifer Jacobson, the author of No More “I’m Done!” states, “… in writing, participation and risk-taking are more important than being right.” You will want your students to see you treat writing as a fun and exciting time of the day, where it is okay to make mistakes and the only expectation is that they “try their best.”  

Writing on their work- the principal of this goes right along with not spelling for them.  We want our students to see themselves as writers.  If you write on their work, you are telling them that their approximations aren’t good enough. 

Let me give you an example, my six-year-old granddaughter, Madison wanted to do some “work” when she was at my house last summer.  So I gave her some writing paper, and she proceeded to write a wonderful book about pigs.  She read it to everyone who would listen, and we told her we were so proud of her. Wow!  What a great book! However, when her Dad came downstairs he looked at the pages as she read, and he pointed out some of the words that were misspelled.   I immediately saw her little shoulders droop and she looked at me and said, “Deedee, I don’t want to write anymore.  I don’t know how.”  Please do not do this to your little authors.  If you want to make notes so that you will remember what their writing says do it in your conferring notebook or write it on a post it note.  Hold precious their approximations and celebrate each and every milestone.  By the end of the year, you will be AMAZED at their writing growth. 

A few pages from Madison's pig book.

I hope this post about Writer's Workshop was helpful to you.  If you'd like to have the mini lessons, anchor charts and management pieces all done for you, Deedee and I have Writing units.  You can check them out by clicking on the images below.  We have them available in individual units as well as a money saving bundle.  These units are perfect for K-1 students.  We are in the process of giving them all a much needed facelift.  So if you already own Unit 1 you'll want to go and grab the revised unit.  We redid the entire thing!  

Each Unit Includes:

I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions or comments.
Have a great summer!!

Math Name Plates {Freebie}

Hi teacher friends!  It's Cheryl from Primary Graffiti!

Are you preparing yet to go back to school?
With only a 1.5 weeks remaining, I'm in full planning mode!

This week I began putting my room back together!
This is my second year working with aqua and pink.

This year I incorporated a bit more lime as an accent.
Spray paint transformed my filing cabinet and desk!

Today I'm writing to share a freebie math tool perfect for BTS planning!

This freebie file is editable! YAY!!!! Just add student's names and print.  I included four versions to ensure this file works for teachers in various primary grades.  

Kindergarten/First includes shapes, colors, coins, odd/even, number line and 100s chart.  First/Second includes shapes, coins, odd/even, number line, 100s chart, place value and time.  A second version for First/Second includes shapes, fractions, odd/even, number line, 100s chart, place value, and time.  Second/Third includes 3D shapes, fractions, odd/even, number line, multiplication chart, place value, and time.  Also included are blacklines.  You can print on colored paper or allow kids to color and individualize!  

Stay in touch with current happenings with Primary Graffiti
Each social button below have live links!

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I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books

Hey Guys! This is Kim and Megan from kindergals! Here is a quick idea for retelling that you can use for Back to School.
IMG_4829-1First, we made the old lady and pieces, printed them on cardstock and laminated them. Now, as you are reading the story, you can use the pieces. Here are a few tips to think about:
  1. You might not want to give the pieces to the kids to come up as you are reading. You know if you have done that before you might hear, “I didn’t get a piece. I can’t find it.  Johnny, she’s talking to you!”  This makes it almost impossible to comprehend the story.
  2. Instead, after reading the book once, give children the pieces and say, “Let’s see if we can sequence the pictures to retelling the story. Good readers know to go back to the text. So let’s go back and see the sequence.”
  3. Invite the children who are holding the pieces to get in the correct order. Now, retell the story as they put the pieces inside of the mouth.
You can now invite the children to make their own retelling prop by giving them their own old lady to glue on the front of a paper bag and the pieces to retell. Here are a few tips to think about:
  1. After the children finish prepping the pieces, give them each a partner.
  2. Each partner retells the story.
  3. Now, swap partners and retell again.
  4. Repeat for as many times as time allows.
You can get the pieces for both parts here! It’s FREE!

Let's Talk PRIZES!!! #Bloghoppin2015

It's hard to believe we are entering the *last* week of the Scavenger Hunt! We've been so impressed by all the posts you've shared with us on Instagram this month. Y'all have been BUSY!! We're going to share a few of them with you in a moment but first, let's talk PRIZES!!! We also want to send out a HUGE thank you to all the fabulous sponsors who helped us put them together!!

Here are what some of you lucky participants will win!!!

A copy of Mr. Ron Clark's newest book, Move Your Bus 


GoNoodle Swag Bag with our favorite t-shirt, tumbler, and more!!

$50 clipart shopping spree from each of the following fab shops:

And of course we have our GRAND PRIZE 
An iPad, custom case from Lovey Dovey Creations, and $100 iTunes Gift Card

Pretty fun stuff, right?! 

To qualify for one of these awesome prize packs, make sure you've earned your 90 points. Then post your final images with the hashtag #bloghoppin2015complete

We want to leave you with a few of the snaps you've shared with us over the last month!!!

Keep em' coming y'all!! Can't wait to see what you've got in store for us this last week! :)

Organizing for Small Groups!

Hi there!  This is Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten sending you a repost from over on my blog!

Many of you are thinking about how you will set up your small group area.  I hope this helps!

Here is what it looked like for me last year.

First I assigned my groups.  I name my groups to just keep it easy.  I let my most fragile learners pick their group name first!
 I updated all of my station work board cards last year.  You can get them for FREE here!
I formed my groups based on the data reports I was able to get from ESGI... Um... love this program!
I organized my binder and added each student's report under their group name.  This helped me to form goals for the groups/

Clip art by the adorable Mel at Graphics From the Pond.
Click on this picture to download your FREE cover.
From Deanna Jump's Guided Reading 101 unit.
Don't judge about my messy handwriting... it is, what it is.
From Deanna Jump's Guided Reading 101 unit.
Here is a photo of a running record.
From Deanna Jump's Guided Reading 101 unit.
Anchor cards can be found in Cara Carroll's ABC unit!  I love it!
We have this bookmark in our reading bags.

This bookmark is how I reinforce nightly reading.  Students earn stars when they demonstrate fluency.

You can download the bookmark for FREE on my Facebook Fan Page.
(NOTE: You can't see the FREEBIE file from your tablet or mobile phone)
Laser finger pointers help encourage 1-to-1 correspondence.  It was sort of a big deal.
(You can find these at the dollar store).

Our interactive learning journals are standing by...
These are the resources we will use in these bad boys during reading groups.
Interactive Alphabet Notebooks Letters A-Z
Interactive Reading Journal
Interactive Reading Journal-Nonfiction
We also use them for our
Guiding Readers Response pages.

Sidenote:  We also had our poetry notebooks and math journals, but they are kept in my student's desks.

We will also be using a lot of word sorts.  You can find my phonemic sorting resources here.
and a ton of path of motion activities and practice.
This Path of Motion practice is part of Abby's RTI unit.  I think I used EVERY page of it!

My friend, Cara, just wrote an amazingly detailed post about how she runs her Alphabetic Small Group Instruction... it is a gem!  I am not ashamed to admit that I read it 10 a few times.

I hope this answers some of your questions about my small group time!