After we have chosen our Star Student of the day, interviewed the child, noticed the letters in the name, sung about the initial sound and listed other words that start with the same sound, we model handwriting by writing the student's name and drawing a picture of the student. To write the name we fold down about two inches of paper from the top to use as a line and then model each letter (handwriting practice). Next we model drawing a picture of the child, making sure to model different ways to draw, from stick figures to using shapes to just drawing freehand. As the week goes on we begin to label the picture, using different labels each day. In the beginning we might draw arrows and label hands and legs and hair and then we might begin to use words such as friend or princess or baseball player, making sure to sound out each word and write the letters that we hear. After a few days of labeling, we begin to write sentences, using the same strategy of listening for the sounds of any words that we don't know how to spell. By the time we have spent 36 days of giving each child in the class a chance to be the Star Student of the Day, we have modeled writing several sentences, using some of the sight words we are learning, using capitals for student's names and beginning sentences, and using punctuation at the end of sentences. And... the Writers' Workshop is well on it's way.
One of the things most interesting about kindergartners is that they come on the first day with many different levels and skills. I thought you might find it interesting to look at a few of their first drawings and writings.
This student copies the name as seen on the left side of the paper and draws a picture of Robert. While he doesn't label his picture with words, he draws an elaborate picture with lots of details and can tell an elaborate story about Robert!
This child copies the word "Robert" that is modeled for the class and then with the help of the teacher, writes some letters for his thought, "Robert is my friend."
Still another child writes "Robert." Then she writes the sounds she hears in "friend" and finally writes a sentence at the bottom of the picture, "Robert is my friend."
And then finally, one student copies the name, "Robert," draws a picture of Robert with two friends and writes, without assistance, her own original sentence with each word spelled correctly!