Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writer's Workshop

In the past, I will admit, I have done an "eh" job a mediocre job in my teaching of writing. 4th grade was easier for me to teach because we worked primarily in the conventions. The kids knew how to brainstorm ideas! So when I started teaching 2nd grade last year, I muddled through trying to teach good writing. Honestly, I did my best, but I know it wasn't as good as it could have been. I'm a learner by nature. I like to learn things. So, this year I started reading more about writer's workshop.
 I asked around. I even cornered one of my literacy coaches and got him to show me a full mini-lesson during our lunch.  Over this break I'm going to hopefully finish reading. However, this is what I have learned thus far. You need journals. They can be pretty much any type of journal. 
These are going to be a the new journals I'm giving my kiddos in the new year. They'll get to decorate them with all kinds of stickers, pictures, or whatever. I usually cover them with contact paper. This time though, I'm putting dividing tabs in it this time to help with organization. The first tab is for their "Topic Banks." The next tab is for their writing! I'm so excited!
Okay, so let me explain. About once a week, we create a NEW bank. This is merely and area that we brainstorm topics! After one of these is created the kids get 15 minutes to write on ANY topic they want. The just circle one topic from ANY bank and write on that topic! 
I have only 2 rules 2 expectations:
***Number 1 - Write the WHOLE time. If you run out of things to say about your topic, pick a new topic and start again!
***Number 2 - Spelling is NOT an issue until we begin revising/editing. They are to "try their best" with spelling!

Also, since this a personal journal, we have a personal understanding... if the kids write something TOO personal (which I do encourage) they can fold it over and I won't read it. It's a really good tool to build trust between the kids and the teacher. I've gotten to read some VERY personal thoughts from these sweet little kiddos.

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