I was invited into a classroom to work on writing in a grade one room. The teacher really wanted her students to start writing more than labelling few words at a time. Merci B.S. for sharing your students with me :)
I suggested that we start with a simple text that had a predictable pattern as a model. I also wanted to reinforce the gradual release of responsibility as I modeled this lesson. I told the students I wanted them to feel more comfortable in writing a sentence so we were going to work on it together. I chose the following book to start my lesson:I read the book to the students. They understood the simple pattern before I was finished the book. I told them which attributes of the book I liked, as I wrote them on an anchor chart to use for future reference. We went back through the book again to check and see if the book actually had all the attributes that I had mentioned.
Next, I modeled a piece of writing that I had written, using the same format. I added the pictures as we read. The children practiced reading the story aloud several times.
Together, we decided on a topic to write about . They wanted to write about food, so after some discussion they chose carrots. At this point the children were quite comfortable with the format. They gave me the simple title. We looked at our attribute chart and I asked them how I should start the piece of writing. They told me what to write, and I printed it out, reinforcing the punctuation as I wrote each line. The children took turns illustrating. Again we practiced reading aloud.
At this point we told the class that we wanted each table group to create a small book just like in the book 1,2,3 chauves-souris…and just the way we had written about the cats and the carrots. We had each group pick a topic. They had to decide who was going to write page 1, 2 … Each student was given a blank page with simple lines at the bottom. They were to follow the sentence pattern and then illustrate it. We asked them all to stick with the food topic. Next time they can change the topic.
When each group was finished their writing and illustrating, the books were stapled together with a cover page. The children practiced reading their little book aloud in small groups and then presented it to the class. Some groups read the entire book together while others chose to read page by page individually.
The result? 4 new books to add to the class reading basket.A great basket to put in the hallway for parents to look through at conference time.
Assessment was simple-did the picture match the writing, was printing an issue, could the student read their own writing, how well did the group cooperate.