Thursday, February 14, 2008

Florida Writes!

This week 4th graders take the Florida Writes! which is Florida's state writing test. Students are timed as they are given one of two possible prompts in expository or narrative. The second day of testing includes a multiple choice test of writing mechanics. Why is this important to a kindergarten teacher?
The 4th grade writing captivates us ALL because those were OUR students. We were the ones that first introduced them to the genres of narrative, informational writing (reports), how to (functional writing) and responding to literature. We were the ones that helped them learn to sound out unknown words and to use their sight vocabulary. We were the ones that showed them how to use the word wall to write new words. We were the ones that celebrated those early stories and smiled at the way they invented spellings. Our children at Chets Creek have been involved in a daily Writers' Workshop since the first day that they stepped onto our campus. We have conferred with them as authors and given them suggestions for how they could take their writing to the next step. We were the first to introduce them to a simple 3-point rubric so they would know when their writing was good enough (like the one shown, currently in Conte-Timmons-Happ's kindergarten classroom on the left).

As OUR 4th graders write this week, we will come early to remind some of our former students that we are pulling for them, that we believe in them, and that we know they will make all of us proud. You see, writing is not a 4th grade skill; it's a skill that we begin with a foundation in Kindergarten and add new strategies each year. These are OUR children and when the scores come in these will be OUR scores. We can't wait!


Suzanne said...

Just last week, I hosted a group of parents that will soon have kindergarteners in school. They are parents scoping out schools in town trying to make a decision on where they want their child to attend next year. Hands down, this group was blown away by the writing in kindergarten. They stood at bulletin board after bulletin board and marveled at the student work. They dug through writing portfolios to see student growth over time. They listened intently to skills block and looked for transfer into student writing. On two occassions, the parents leaned over and asked, "Are you sure this is kindergarten?"

Your strong accountability for teaching our youngest writers is apparent throughout our school, and I'm sure every teacher appreciates your hard work!

Sherrie Anderson said...

I so appreciate what the kindergarten teachers do. As fourth grade teachers, we (Christy and I) could not do what is expected without the support of K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teachers. Way to go!!