Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress

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Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

Writer’s Workshop: Making Progress!

November 8 Deedee 4 min read

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

I have been thinking a lot about looking back in order to see where you are.   Meaning… sometimes you don’t realize the leaps and bounds a student makes until you glance back.

I have heard it said [not sure who] that looking at writing progression is sort of like watching a tree grow.  Every day you look and it appears that your tree is not growing.  However, looking back to photos from 3 years ago…WOW!  Look how big that tree has gotten.  So I gather my “tree” samples on or about the first day of school.

I know I have posted samples of my students’ writing and I hear,  “My kids are just so low.  I don’t think they can do writer’s workshop.”   Let me introduce you to the sweetest little sapling in my class.   This sweet thing came in with little literacy skills.  Holding a pencil was foreign to her.  She did not know any of her colors.  She would often ask, “Is this red?”  She did not know any letters, sounds, or what her name looked like.

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

She really started out without thinking her writing could carry any meaning.  However, when I look at the green squiggle lines, it would tell me that she knew something should go there.  I am not certain, but it also looks like a period at the end… interesting.

Today, I sat down to conference with this sweetie.  I started her conference as I do others,  “Can you tell me what you are working on?”   She was working on the final page and was not sure what else she would add to the page.  I suggested she read her book to me from the beginning. 

Here is what I got.

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

 

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

Can you see that she was not happy about the storm?  She even appears to be looking up at the cloud.  I love how she made the sky dark.

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

Now the sky is really dark.  Love! It!

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

When she came to this next page, she had the illustration but there were not any words.  So I reminded her that my goal for her was to have her start adding words to her writing.  [She currently knows about half of her letters and a handful of sounds.]  I asked her, “What do you think you might say about this page?”   She sat for a moment and said, “I like wind.”  I commented, “Wow!  You did a wonderful job of showing this with your picture.  I can tell it is windy because your hair is blowing.  I can also tell that you like it because, look at the huge smile.”  She was BEAMING!   

Now it was time for the nudge.

“Remember we talked about writing words?  What words do you think you could add here?”

A moments pause… then, “I like wind!”

I said, “Great, let’s write it.”   

She looked at me for a minute and said, “I know how to write ‘I’.”  She confidently wrote that down.  Then she said, “‘like’ is on our word wall.”  She looked up to our word wall, found it and wrote it down.  She then said, “I don’t know how to spell ‘wind’.”

Hmm… not wanting to be the walking dictionary, I encouraged her to put the sounds she heard.  She said, “Wind starts with ‘w’.”   Disclaimer:  Wind is our phonics key word for Ww.  She wrote it down, but put a “m” instead.  Then she erased it and rewrote her “w” correctly.

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

I asked her if she heard any other sounds.  She said, “yes” but did not know what they were.  I was not about to /i/i/i/i/, /n/n/n/n/, d/d/d/d/ her into the ground because that would have been a shove, not a nudge.  I just praised her for her great work… then, bless her heart, she added the “eerrrt”  AKA: the period.  I reminded her that every time she writes, she could add words to her writing to make the meaning more clear.  She was all grins!

If I had waited until this sweetie knew all of her sounds, I would have lost the growth she has made to compose.  In the past 57 days, she has learned that her writing has meaning AND she can express her meaning with pictures and with words.  She can write a story and sustain meaning across pages.  This book took her a few days to write, so she returned to her work in the process.

Suffice to say, I am thrilled with her growth.

WANTING MORE ON WRITING?

Since I LOVE talking about writing, I have a few (dozen) blog posts about writing.   

LOOKING FOR PRINT AND TEACH WRITING LESSONS?

Deanna Jump and I have created simple, yet powerful daily lesson plans to teach writers workshop.  We have taken the guesswork out of your instruction.

Each unit is carefully planned out.

Kindergarten Writing in September. We have made progress in writers workshop. Take a peek at student writing samples!

And it walks you through each dayโ€™s lesson.

Kindergarten Writing in September. We have made progress in writers workshop. This post will show you how our kindergarten students publish their writing each month. Take a peek at student writing samples!

You can shop our writing curriculum below:

Writers Workshop Kindergarten Student Progress. Looking back at the growth of students' writing to see progress is important. Knowing what their next steps along the continuum helps you make instructional decisions.

 

26 Comments

  • tmkteacher November 8 at 2:43 am

    What a celebration! I love to see my kiddos blossom as writers. I too have them start writing from day 1 and the growth is tremendous, even though I work with many students considered as at risk. I love how you encouraged her. She will continue to blossom! Just think – it's only November. : )

  • Mrs. Katzman's Kinder Cubs November 8 at 2:44 am

    This is the first year I have used Writer's Workshop in my classroom. I am amazed every day at the progress they are making. Had I stuck with the program I am "suppose" to do, my kids would still be drawing pictures without any words. I am a huge believer in Writer's Workshop. BTW, 90% of my students are living below the poverty line AND are ELL! In other words, they are all on the same level as your little sweetie ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Teaching in the Tongass November 8 at 2:44 am

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of how to be patient and recognize the growth through the forest (sorry, had to!). This sapling will be a giant oak someday, and you are just the nourishment she needs ๐Ÿ™‚

    Teaching in the Tongass

    • Deedee November 8 at 2:59 am

      Not gonna lie… your comment gave me goosebumps! Thank you!!!

  • justhave2teach November 8 at 2:55 am

    I'm so glad you posted this today…..I think it was the push I was needing to FINALLY buy these units. I am not excited about our writing program at all, and unfortunately no matter how much I push Writing is the most grueling part of our day and some of our results still look like your friend's day 1! It may just have to be an early Christmas present to myself!

    • Deedee November 8 at 3:00 am

      I used to dread writing time. I knew they had to do SOMETHING but I had no idea how to get them there. I read A LOT about writing… I mean a LOT. Then tried it out for 2 years before I sat down to write the units with Deanna. I hope you find them helpful!

  • Liz November 8 at 3:06 am

    I'm not allowed to do writer's workshop at my school =/
    I wish I could though! The kids produce such incredible pieces and they truly develop a love of writing. Your little girl has made tremendous progress! =)
    Liz

  • Mrs. Sheehan November 8 at 3:17 am

    I LOVE writer's workshop. It took three years for me to get writing down to the point where I felt like true progress was being made, but I'm always looking to improve in this area. Looking back has got to be the most satisfying thing with writing. You can see right away how the kids have grown in small time spans, and the growth across the year makes it all worth it! Thanks for sharing these pieces ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rae November 8 at 3:34 am

    Wow! What amazing progress! A reflection on wonderful teaching!

    Rae
    Mindful Rambles

  • g-girl November 8 at 4:02 am

    Yay, success! Seeing writing growth is one of the best things about teaching K I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sylvia Parker November 8 at 4:11 am

    This type of growth is what makes teaching such an amazing experience. Love it!

  • Stacy November 8 at 4:14 am

    I started using your writing workshop series and was shocked at how much progress my students made throughout the year. I also found out that I enjoy teaching writing!!! Writing time came from a hurried mess just to fit it in the days schedule, to the first thing I do in the morning. Thank you for showing me that teaching writing can be fun and effective for the kiddies and me.

  • Sandi MacDougall November 8 at 11:10 am

    I loved reading your post, Deedee. It is so encouraging to watch young writers grow. It's amazing. My kiddos each are developing at their own pace, but each is progressing. I love watching their faces as they talk about their writing and realize they have something important to say and that they can say it "in pictures and words". Thanks for sharing.

  • Sooner Chic November 8 at 12:50 pm

    What a great success story! You are obviously a dedicated and amazing teacher. May God bless you in imaginable ways!

  • Amber November 8 at 1:13 pm

    I love hearing the dialogue and examples it gives me great ideas to push my little kindergarten writers even further!

  • Tiggs November 8 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement with struggling writers. I teach a 2/3 special needs class. We don't do "Writer's workshop" but a program called "Being A Writer". I like it because it has clear lessons for the teacher (I was never a strong writer growing up), but it also allows freedom for the students in their writing.

    I teach using picture books and author studies to learn about how we get ideas and write, but the hardest part is that even being 2/3 grade, most of my students cannot even read. many know only a few sounds, and even those they cannot usually relate to the correct letter. This program allows me to conference with my students OFTEN! THey have journals to keep all their writing. Sometimes I am discourage to see the lack of progress when the students still cannot describe what they were trying to write.

    I too, do not want to be the walking dictionary–I want them to use the sounds they know, our sound wall, and word wall.

    Any other ideas would be appreciated.

  • Carrie Lemke November 9 at 12:26 am

    I didn't think that I would be able to use writers workshop with kindergartners until I bought your units last year. I had an observation and my administrator couldn't believe what the kids were writing. My parents really liked the portfolio. It was amazing to see the growth the kiddos make. I even had a student who didn't really enjoy school but once he started getting into writer's workshop he couldn't wait! Thanks DeeDee for all the lessons and games you make. My students really enjoy them. I am trying your math units out this year!

  • Andrea Fancy November 9 at 1:36 am

    I teared up at school today… because of your Writer's Workshop lessons. Wonderful, happy tears!!! I started Unit 1 of your Writer's Workshop the first Monday in November… as in, Monday of this week, after struggling through writing for September and October with my kinders. Just last week, one of my students wrote exactly like your first example – colors on top and squiggles on the bottom. He knew almost all his sounds and letters but still didn't know he could actually use them to tell a story. Today, he wrote me the most beautiful thing – a picture of his family at the beach. Underneath, he had written (in French, as I teach in a francophone school): "My family is at the beach with Jacob. There is a rainbow." Of course, he didn't spell it like that, but he sounded out well enough that I COULD READ IT WITHOUT HIM TELLING ME WHAT IT SAID. I am so, incredibly proud!!!!! Thank you so much for giving me that moment today ๐Ÿ™‚

  • MissWoodwardsClass November 9 at 3:22 am

    What a nice reminder to celebrate the small things! I love your simple suggestion of looking back at work to see progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will check-in with my kids on Monday!

    Ellie
    Miss Woodward's Class

  • learningmyself November 9 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that all of our students start somewhere…and we should be happy it is with us…no matter how strong or weak they are…We are given a true opportunity to be the teacher…thanks Deedee…Amy

  • Jennifer Brown November 9 at 5:26 pm

    WoW! Thank you. Just this past week I finally re-opened the writing center after weeks of introducing writing skills in writing workshop (the kiddos were using it as an art studio – and not the best kind of art). Some of my higher kinder kids wanted to write stories so we talked about what materials they would need. So I stapled papers together to create books (we haven't written books or talked about how to make a book yet). Then my lower writing kiddos saw what was happening and they now want to write! Thank God for Miracles! I think we have finally started seeing that light….YES! now to continue to build on it! Thank you for your posts and ideas!

  • Amanda November 10 at 1:54 am

    When I first started reading blogs a few years ago, yours was always (and still is) my "go to" for writing. I love seeing examples of what your students are doing. We are currently using a scripted program for all elements of Language Arts, and I don't have a lot of flexibility, but I definitely add all I can to help my students grow as writers. Kudos to your kiddos on their progress!

    Amanda
    A Very Curious Class

  • Heather Langley November 10 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I'm saving this post to show friends when they tell me, "Writer's Workshop won't work for my class." I really noticed in your kiddo's stories that her pictures came to life from the beginning of the year. I can see that she has had a lot of time to cultivate her story telling through pictures first. Wonderful example of how Writer's Workshop works!

  • Scorch Dragon November 11 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! I was just thinking my class wasn't making much progress! Keep up the good work!

  • Jill Sloothaak November 17 at 12:53 pm

    My class is just getting started on your Unit 2 in our Writing Workshop. I must say that I am feeling a little overwhelmed about introducing books! I know it will be great, because I did it last year too, but getting started is the hardest part. ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely LOVE this part of my day, though.

    Jill
    ABCs and Polkadots

    • Deedee November 17 at 5:04 pm

      Oh Jill! I can totally identify. It is such a leap of faith to let go of that control. I always feel a little panicked when I switch from single pages to books. I know it works, but it is hard to not feel overwhelmed! Hang in there and let me know how it goes.

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More

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