Monday, October 11, 2010

Small Moment at the Farm

Lucy Calkins talks about children learning to write about small moments instead of bed-to-bed stories that just tell a sequence of events from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed in the evening. Our field trip to the farm last week was the perfect example for the children to stop thinking about long, all day stories and just think about a small moment that they could blow up. As we talked about the farm, we talked about each of the things we did - beginning with putting our lunches in the coolers and putting on our name tags to taking the long ride on the bus and then going through the corn maze and then the hayride to see pumpkins and sunflowers ... until we loaded the bus back home and fell asleep! We talked to the children about thinking about a small moment during the day instead of trying to tell everything we did. To emphasize that, we put photographs of moments at the farm onto writing paper and asked each child to choose a favorite moment from a photograph to write about. It was such a great way to explain to the children that we want them to write a lot about one event instead of a list or series of events. Mrs. Ruark modeled with the story about jumping on the corn popper and all the fun she had. She did leave out the part about almost wetting her pants, but I still think the children would have enjoyed that part too! While the writing may still not be quite as deep as we'd like or have as much detail as we'd like, they do seem to be getting the point!

When my class went on the playground I went in the popcorn box and I was excited that I buried Tanner and Jesse. And I played that I was a monster under the water

but it was wasn't really water. And I played and played and played and I was so excited until my pants fell off.

And here is another example of a small moment:

My class went to the farm. And we got to go on a hayride. And it was fun. We saw big sunflowers and big white and normal orange pumpkins and I was in the sun. They call it a hayride?Maybe because it has hay for the seat to sit on. Maybe for another reason. I don't know. But they call it a hayride.

1 comment:

Melanie Holtsman said...

I love this activity. And I was fortunate enough to walk in your classroom while the children were writing. I loved the way I saw them pause in their writing and look at the top of their paper to review the photos again. I think that was a great way to remind them of the details of the moments you were trying to get them to tap into and they were all so excited to be writing!