4th Grade Non-Fiction Writing Display
These writers created a writing quilt to show off their content area writing about NC animals. This was a great way to integrate their social studies curriculum.
1st Grade How-To
This class of first grade writers created a class book titled 'How To Make a Sandwich". They used photographs of the students actually making the sandwich. This process helped students think about all the steps involved before writing the book together. They all used this book as a model to write their own how-to books on their OWN topics.
Kindergarten Is Writing For Many Reasons...
These signs gave writers a real purpose and audience for their writing.
*This sign was posted in the hall and reads...
Third Grade Class
Check Out How These Classes Celebrate Their Writing!
Teachers Writing In Front of Their Students
Student Thoughts on Writing
Although this is not a typical looking anchor chart, it was created by the class and it is used to help students during their Writers Workshop. Each writer in this class (including the teacher) created a 'quilt square' to show who they are and what is important in their life. Whenever students are 'stuck' for an idea, they can visit the "Class Memory Quilt" for an idea from their own square or from another writer's square.
Students can share their 'published piece' with a peer from their own class or another class on the same grade-level. In addition, students can read their stories to buddy classes in lower and/ or upper grades to get feedback.
Students can read each others' published pieces
and leave positive feedback for the author.
Posting your celebration date keeps student writers excited and motivated. It also gives them their next publishing deadline!
This writer is learning how to use an ABC chart to stretch out her words and put down all the sounds she hears. Learning to use this strategy will make her a more independent writer and will help put an end to "How do I spell...?"
Learning how to be a writing partner...
Using a writing folder...
Kindergarteners should be encouraged to develop their oral storytelling before beginning to write. Many children begin their journey as writers by telling a story with pictures. The next steps are adding letters, known words (such as their own name), and then sentences to their writing. The growth of kindergarten writers is amazing!
Kindergarten Sample Student #1
This student started the year by coloring his paper completely red. He had not yet developed a sense of story. By October, he was beginning to tell a story orally and represent it on his paper by drawing the people in his story and adding letters to represent the words of his story.
Kindergarten Sample Student #2
This first piece was written in September and is about
the time I went to
level three on my game.
When this student was encouraged to go back to a piece he had already written and try to add some letters or words, he decided to add speech bubbles like he had seen in a mentor text.
The second piece (below) reads "Vroooomm..." coming out of the video game/ TV and "Nooo...!" coming out of the boy's mouth when he thought he was not going to make it to level three.
Kindergarten Sample Student #3
The first piece (left) shows an unassisted piece of writing from the first week of school.
The second piece (below) is a story told across three pages from the end of the school year.
The growth in this writer is unbelievable
but not unusual in classrooms that use a
Writers Workshop approach.
One day I went to the park to play a game of tennis with my dad.
It was very funny when I hit
it in the bush.
On the way home we got stopped because we passed a stop sign.
A Glimpse Into Classrooms...
A picture is worth a thousand words!
*This piece of the heart reads, "I have a new puppy. His name is Toto."
These first grade writers begin the year by creating a 'Writers Heart' with ideas that touch their heart. They fill in a few of the parts with pictures, words, or sentences in the beginning of the year. They continue to add to their heart throughout the year and can use it whenever they can't think of anything to write about. This 'Writers Heart' also helps teachers get to know their writers and what is important to them.
First Grade Student Sample #1
This student experienced Writers Workshop in kindergarten and entered first grade with many positive writing qualities. This first piece (to the left) was written in the beginning of the school year and reads,
"One Day I Went to the Beach
I Went in the Water...
When I got Out my eyes Burned
it hurt Sting The End."
She has a sense a sense of story, tells a focused story in sequential order, attempts to bring in some sensory details (my eyes burned), and even plays with different types of punctuation (ellipses...). Of course, there are many things that we can teach this writer by looking at her writing. I challenge you to always look for what the student is doing well (compliment) before looking for what the student needs to improve (the teach part of the conference). This student was already considered a 'high' writer but she continued to make growth through one-on-one conferences that met her individual needs.
This piece (left), written in November, is one of my personal favorites. It was written when our school was under construction and every day we found a new 'construction zone'. It reads,
"One day when we were done with Spanish class... we saw more gates that made my class sad. It made everyone shocked. Now we play on the... big playground only. Caution tape was everywhere! Our hearts sunk! We have lost one playground."
This writer has an amazing voice, especially for a first grader! How would you compliment this writer? What would you teach her next?
Second Grade Student Writing Sample #1
This is an unassisted piece from the beginning of the school year and reads,
"One time I went to Mt. Rushmore they had like a flag for every country. They had some amazing sites. (I forgot the rest)"
Now look below for this student's writing from the end of the school year.
"I think the baby's ready" said mom. Kelsey ran down the hall and had a bag with her. "Baby supply pack" she said to the look on Jake and my faces. "Let's go!" said dad. We went and got in the car.
Zap! We were off speeding along like a derby horse. Screech! We skidded to a stop at the hospital. "Baby on Board!" called dad. ZOOM! We got in the hospital. "EMERGENCY!" shouted mom. "Baby ready!" said dad.
"Get a room ready!" shouted dad. Mom ran to the room. The nurse introduced herself and showed us the room. Mom layed down on the bed. "Oh the new baby" she said.
We waited all Saturday and all Sunday. Finally on Sunday at 6:something PM, the baby Ben was born. "His name is Ben" said dad. "My monkey" I said back. "Ben-Ben" said Kelsey. "Bebra Zebra" said dad. "Mini-me" said Jake.
Everybody but mom and Ben went home. I don't want to have another baby." I said and that is still so true.
A few thoughts on Anchor Charts vs. Wallpaper...
Think of your wall space as something you need to rent. As you hang things on the wall, ask yourself, would I pay rent for that? Periodically look around the room and ask yourself, is that still worth paying for? Anchor charts should be:
*co-created with your students
*relevant to what your class is learning
*student friendly (think about the reading levels of the students in your room and use visuals, graphics & photos)
In addition, your students will only refer to anchor charts if you do. Keep your anchor charts from becoming wallpaper by following the rules above and taking them down when students no longer need them. After all, your wall space is limited and rental fees are high :) Take a picture of your anchor charts before taking them down and print out a copy of the picture for each table/ group in your class. Each group will have a notebook of "Anchor Charts" as a reference and can use them when writing independently or in writing conferences. In addition, when a new student arrives, it is the perfect way to get him/ her caught up quickly.
These students are leaving feedback for each other.
Ways to Celebrate:
*Partners can share their work and write or orally share a compliment.
*Small groups (3-4) can share their work and write or orally share a compliment.
*Students in the same class can do a 'museum walk'. Put out 3 sticky notes next to each student's writing and readers walk around. Where there is an empty sticky note, they read, and leave a compliment. Each writer will have 3 readers and 3 compliments.
*Students can do a 'museum walk' with another class in the same grade level.
*Students can partner up and read their work to an older class. The older reader can give an oral or written compliment or "Writer's Award".
*Students can partner up with a younger class. The younger reader can give an oral or written compliment or a "Star Rating". If it is non-fiction, they can tell something they learned.
*For poetry, the class could host a 'Poetry Cafe' where each student reads 1-2 poems and the class snaps rather than claps.
*For short essays, students can use flip cameras to video each other "Andy Rooney" style and they can be played on morning broadcast.
**Anytime student work is posted in the hallway, leave sticky notes and pens. Students love getting surprise compliments from other students, former teachers, or anyone else who noticed their writing!
**For other ideas on how to use technology to publish and celebrate, check out the "Digital Storytelling" page.
Third grade writing sample. It is amazing to see the difference in one child's writing from September to January. Notice this child is still writing about a football game but the level of his writing has been lifted tremendously through the Writer's Workshop model.
This student wrote a personal narrative about drinking Lysol as a child. You can find her final copy to the left and her reflection above.
Nothing gets budding writers more excited than the possibility of having an authentic published work and an enthusiastic audience for their creations. There are many ways to help your students have that experience in your school, at home and even online and in print.
Additonal Resources About Publishing & Celebrating Writing: