Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Work on Writing Linky Party

Thank you to Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles for hosting this Freebie-licious summer linky party!
I will be honest......I have always struggled getting my firsties to love writing until this past year. There are some fabulous resources out there in blogland to help you. I am confident they leave my classroom with a love of reading but my goal this year was to do that with writing.We are giving them the foundation for reading and writing and it's our job to prepare them for the dreaded "writing" portion of state tests. If you have been following my blog then you know I use warm fuzzies. Last year I actually started taking warm fuzzies if they forgot a capital or punctuation. They would get so frustrated but it did work. Daily 5 provided my class with the opportunity to write daily and they ended up being the BEST writers I've ever taught. You have to make it exciting for them & change things up. As soon as I sniffed out any boredom at all I would change things up. There are so many resources out there in blogland and on TPT that I took advantage of this year. 

Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles offers this for free at her TPT store. I printed these out, laminated them & put them on a ring. My students who were in Work on Writing during Daily 5 used this daily. 

 My students also used these topic cards from the fabulous Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter.

Along with these I also used the following in conjunction with my own items:

This is Lori's writing station for young learners packet. Genius. I.LOVE.EVERYTHING.SHE.DOES! I taught a high ability cluster last year & I used some just in the first quarter & the rest was used throughout first grade. I also used Caitlin's Work on Writing packet in the first quarter and throughout the year. What I did learn with my high ability group is I have to constantly change things up & keep them interested and challenged.

Now here is some of my writing activities starting in August......
This is super hard to read, BUT, it's a bucket filler slip from one student to another. Can you tell what is says???? If you can, leave a comment & tell me what it says. I will give you my Bucket Filler Starter Kit for FREE! I start my lil nuggets out with these little notes to reel them into writing. What teacher lets you write notes to each other??? Well, the catch is...they have to be a compliment to one another & they absolutely love this! They are so kind to each other with these notes I can't stand it! Holy cuteness!!!!! 

When we start writing I have them draw pictures of what means the most to them in the above heart map. 
One of my faves did this several years ago & I always post this on my smart board to show my current class. She did a fabulous job, didn't she???

I start my lil nuggets out with a journal in September-ish or October depending on the class I have. Part of their supply list is writing paper. All I do is take an 11 1/2 x 14'' piece of construction paper & put about 10 sheets of writing paper in it. I start them out with sticker stories which is a BIG FREAKING DEAL for firsties! They have free reign on stickers??? O.M.G. they go nutso! So I guide them to start with a sticker. They have to write a sentence as best as they could to match the sticker. This is quite an accomplishment in the beginning of the year.

This is a sample of a journal in December when they are writing to the elf. I won't mention what elf because I might get shut down! Anyway, we are done promoting the "Elf ** the S****! You're welcome for all those book sales! When education bloggers STOP posting about things like this..it's not us...it's the publisher from these companies that don't allow it. Really??? I guess we will have to start writing our own children's books to promote...you think???

Here is one of my little nuggets responding to a prompt during Daily 5....they were so into that little bast***! Fill it in...lol.

Here is a snapshot of one my of kiddos putting together scrambled sentences from my Winter-licious Unit and then writing them in the included booklet. It is so important for my students to be able to manipulate the words & put them into a structured sentence & then be able to write & illustrate their sentence. Welcome to the world of beginning writers friends! 
This is hysterical! I was looking through my photos from this year. I was getting all kinds of requests for new coupons. Well, I am not going to make any new ones unless it's something my own students want. So here is a list from one of my students requesting new coupons. "Hugging Mrs. Dillard" melts my heart ;o(The bottom line is, they were writing, correct? This was exciting to them! They felt such a sense of ownership when I introduced the new coupons based on their recommendations! 
We have this wall of writing fame in our classroom. Every week I change the writing out & then place their writing in their writing folder. At the end of the year it is absolutely incredible to see the growth from week to week. I always make sure & have them put the exact date on the back of their writing sheets.

Here is a snapshot of our writing hall of fame. I purchased $1 clipboards from Wal-Mart & modge-podged this tie dye scrapbook paper onto it. If I were to do it again.....I wouldn't of used this paper because...well I'm bored with it already. I suggest using something that you will not get bored with! If I were to do it again, I would've put plain black paper or neon. When we get our new school..in December (HOLY SCHNIKEYS) I will most likely change it up. 

I started making these notes after 2nd quarter. Oh.my.word! They LOVED writing notes to each other! They especially loved not having to actually hand the note to their classmate. You know how those crushes tend to develop? Too cute! I gave my students the choice to either drop the note on the desk of who they wrote the note to or put it in our private mailbox.
The mailbox is from Joann Fabrics or one of those stores. All I did was put cutesy alphabet stickers on it.....easy peasy!

This is something I introduced after the 2nd quarter. I put all the choices into individual binders. 

Surprisingly, my high ability students had a really hard time writing questions. I made this to help them write questions to each other & put it in our mailbox. They would write back & forth to each other & this really helped them with this concept. 

 I included an instruction sheet in the beginning of each section. They read this on their own after I modeled each section for them.
I included examples for my students of questions they could ask each other. I did this so I can use this based on each child's ability level. All about differentiation folks! 
After the instruction sheet I placed a poly (durable) folder in the binder which included the question sheets. I instructed the students NOT to take the last sheet....even though I had a copy. They knew to tell me when our supply was low. 

 My students began to go with the binder system I developed. If they had a question, they were to go to the example that was right there in the binder. It's all about independence friends. While they are writing I am busy working with my at risk students. They need to be independent during writing without questions.

 My students always flocked towards my cell phone & "pretending" to text me or their parents. I saw this as an opportunity for writing. You might say I shouldn't of suggested the next "text lingo" to them but my kiddos were at that point. I felt if they could use this "lingo" in the correct context....SCORE!

I gave them examples & paper & this was their favorite writing option in our last quarter. Would I put this for Kindergarten or average first graders? Um, No. I had to go above & beyond to engage & keep my kids interested & challenged. I created the questions, lists & text notes you see above...I will be posting it soon...I work really slow!

In the meantime, hook up to our linky & you can also check out my previous "writing" posts by looking into my labels to the right ----------->>>>>>>
Here are some freebie notes to get you started!!!!

Click on any pic to grab your copies for FREE! The last one is one of many they would write to friends, teachers, or even mom and dad. I would put out the birthday paper for my students to write a special note to someone for their birthday. They even asked to use it to write about their birthday.

This year I will be including the following into our writing curriculum: Anything Lori creates....I HIGHLY SUGGEST! I have not tried this set but I will be using each of her sets. She is seriously so talented!

 I hope I gave you some ideas to use with your own little nuggets! Leave me a comment with more suggestions! I would love to hear from you!

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  1. I think it says "You are handsome Jadon" (or some variation of Jaeden.


  2. I ABSOLUTELY love your writing folder. Awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing them!
    Karen Rowland
    Adventures With Firsties


  3. Boy you have really pulled out all the stops when it comes to writing! Love all the ideas! Your mailbox is so adorable! I know that would be a big hit in the classroom!

    I think that the bucket filled note says "I would like to fill ___'s bucket by saying you are handsome Jadon from Alonna" Gotta love the writing in 1st grade! They are a hoot!

    The Polished Teacher

    1. oops forgot the e-mail!

  4. I love what you do for writing! I wish it were this much fun in the upper grades--our writing gets bogged down with content.

    I think the note says "You are handsome Jadon" from Alonna

    So cute :)
    teaching, life, and everything in between

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thank you for the great ideas! I do these notes in my classroom too.
    I think it says "You are handsome Jadon" from Alonna.
    Love all the ideas!


  7. All of the ideas are fantastic! I've wish listed (is that a word?) quite a few of these links.
    I thought the bucket filler paper said, "You are awesome Jadon" from Alonna. But that doesn't match what others have deciphered. Alas...
    Thanks again for the awesome post, terrific resources, and general feeling of excitedness for writing!
    Amy amygonz@gmail.com

  8. Love all your writing ideas and suggestions. I also think it says You are handsome Jadon. From Allona.

    How cute!


  9. I think it says, You are handsome Jadon. Such precious words to a classmate. Thank you for sharing such super ideas. I am moving up to first grade from kindergarten and found your blog this summer and it has inspired me.


  10. I think it says "Your are handsome Jayden" So cute! Your post gave me lots of ideas and I loved the freebies!


  11. I think it says, "you are handsome Jadon???? Maybe :/ lol LOVE IT! alex_lindsey@hotmail.com

  12. Very good post! Enjoyed it! I think it says, "you are handsome Jayden."

  13. What a great, informative post! Thank you so much for all the shout-outs! You have made my day! No, you have made my year!
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

  14. It reads - "You are handsome Jaydon.".
    Love your writing resources.



  15. Wow! Okay I'm pinning this for later because that's a lot of great stuff! Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

  16. Wow, so many great resources! Thanks!
    If I know 1st grade writing, it says, "You are handsome, Jadon. Love, Alonna" So cute!
    Thanks again for all of the great materials! Improving Writing is always one of my goals as well.

  17. Love the idea of your writing journals. I think I may just have to try it out! I have recently purchased Lori's writing resources. Now I really can't wait to use them. It's great to see how it works in other classrooms!

    Spotted in First Grade

  18. Thank you for this! This will be my 3rd year in 1st grade and I have struggled teaching writing, and I'm even more scared this coming year since we are not switching for reading/writing groups since we will only have three teachers. I LOVE your suggestions and plan on fitting them to my little guys! :D

  19. You are handsome Jaden is what I thought it said. But with wee ones......who knows!? Love your posts. Have you had a chance to see who won a candy land game from the other day? tracy.cook@clover.k12.sc.us

  20. Thanks for commenting ladies! What a busy weekend I've had! Too many parties including our own. The bucket filler slip actually says "You are handsome Landon. Love, Alonna". I sent the bucket filler packet to the first five who commented.

  21. Aaahhh...memories of first grade! The lovely note says "You are handsome..." but I didn't get the ending :)

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  23. I'm loving this writing blog! I feel Im weak in the area of writing. I think the bucket filler note says, "You are handsome Jadon" from Alonna. So love the innocent writing that little guys do. Thanks for having such a fantastic blog full of ideas!
    Laura Ledbetter

  24. I'm loving this writing blog! I feel Im weak in the area of writing. I think the bucket filler note says, "You are handsome Jadon" from Alonna. So love the innocent writing that little guys do. Thanks for having such a fantastic blog full of ideas!
    Laura Ledbetter

  25. I love your behavior system with the big and little fuzzies but there is a mistake on the tri-fold board and in the heading Behavior coupous instead of coupons. Beautiful idea and I can see the little ones really buying into this system.

  26. Hello,

    I am a new first grade teacher in my first year of teaching. I have found that I have students ranging in ability from below kindergarten all the way to 4th grade. I think your writing binders are just what we need to help with differentiating and writing. I am trying to make something similar, but there is never enough time in a weekend. Did you make your paper in word or publisher? or something else all together? Please let me know!! Thanks for the idea.


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