I loved talking about emergent writing with Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard the other evening. If you missed his Google Hangout, you can watch it HERE.
As promised, I will try to answer some of the questions that popped up that we may not have covered or those that are worth going over again.
First… I would like to address that fact that in looking back at the video, I had NO idea where to look at my computer. I will put a big smile face next to where my computer camera sits. Good! Night! Do-overs please!
Jason did a super job of capturing your questions, but in the event I did not answer your question, please let me know and I can add it to this post.
What emergent writing program do you use?
I use the program that Deanna Jump and I co-wrote back in 2012.
After reading, researching, and trying out lessons in our classrooms, we decided to sit down and create lessons that will help those who are either new to writer’s workshop, those who are looking to strengthen their mini-lessons, or those who wish to supplement their current writing curriculum.
We have since gone back and revised them to make them EVEN easier to follow.
Each unit focuses on a genre and includes 4 weeks of scripted instruction. Now… I am not a fan of scripted instruction… like EVER… but if you are new to teaching emergent writers through writers workshop or you are not getting the results from your current instruction, having a script to follow might be helpful. THEN make it your OWN! Put your teacher magic into it!
We know that teachers are busy and they have multiple subjects to prepare for, so we wanted our lessons to be concise, but not overwhelmingly wordy.
If I have not done writers workshop where should I start?
If you have not started writers workshop, I would suggest starting with the first unit. Let me tell you why. It is important to lay the ground rules and expectations for the writers workshop model. Some of the lessons, you may not need to give, but you want to set your classroom up for success.
Unit 2 of the series walks you through the transition from writing single page stories to writing books. This can be a challenge (especially for me because I like to control EV-ER-Y-THING!)
After going through those 2 units, you can pick up with the writing genre of your choice.
But keep in mind… if you teach the units out of order, you may need to adjust your rubrics and goal setting charts.
Each rubric is based off of 4 weeks of instruction, you will want to be mindful of that.
Students set their own writing goals every 4 weeks with these charts (which mirror the rubric).
How often do you confer with students?
I confer with each student at least once a week (or every 5 instructional days).
I explained in our Google Hangout how I struggled to confer when I first started. I was not sure what to say. I was not sure where the student was as a writer. I needed some thinking time. So I decided to try this (it is probably nothing new, but it was new for me.)
On Monday, at the close of writer’s workshop, I had 5 students hand in their writing folder to ME (vs the bin where the folders were kept). During my planning time, I would look over these 5 folders and get an idea of the students’ strengths and needs as a writer.
On Tuesday, those same 5 students would meet with me to do a little goal setting. This takes about 5 minutes MAX. I hand out goals quickly and those 5 students go off to write. Then I go off to confer as usual.
On Wednesday, I CONFER with those 5 students. I look for evidence that they attempted the goal that I set for them the previous day. Then I have a decision to make: reteach? reinforce the skill? or move onto another skill. Also THESE are the 5 students that are my whole class sharers. Since I had just met with them, I can help highlight some of their awesome work.
I make this rotation schedule public. My students know when they meet with me and when it is their share day. This REALLY helps those students who either get upset because they want to share everyday and those students who would prefer to not share at all.
We have included some conferring tips in the units as well.
Assessment and About ESGI
Can we see the tests that Deedee made?
You sure can. Just sign up for a trial account by clicking on the image below:
You can find all of my assessments by clicking on “Test Explorer” and looking for my name in the drop down box. I have written tests for most of the ELA and MATH CCSS.
I have also put in the Guiding Readers reading comprehension tests.
You can find those tests in a similar way.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about emergent writers and writers workshop! I would be happy to add to this post! Thank you again to Greg and Jason for a GREAT evening! So fun!!!