Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Follow the Bend in the Road

As we decided on our first standards-based bulletin board for the year, our Reading Coach, Melanie Holtsman, challenged us to take the lessons that we were teaching in Lucy Calkins' New Units of Study and to demonstrate the students' work as a result of some of the lessons.  It was an idea we had never presented before on a bulletin board so, of course, the challenge was interesting.  I'm always up for a challenge! Normally we like to take a finished genre of writing and show all the ways that a student has used what they have learned but on this board Melanie wanted us to look at student work after each lesson. We decided to accept the challenge with our bulletin board tied to our Wizard of Oz theme, Follow the Bend in the Road.

This was the "task" and standard.

This year First Grade has embraced the new Writing Units of Study written by the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College under the direction of Lucy Calkins.  We are teaching this “Small Moments” Narrative unit for the first time.

As we opened our first days of Writing Workshop we reminded students of all that they loved about writing in Kindergarten and we welcomed them into a new year’s writing as authors.  We talked about their writing “muscles” and all the books that they were going to write!  We established the rituals and routines of the Workshop.
The lessons displayed on this bulletin board only address the first “bend” in the narrative unit.  The “bend” is like the first set of mini-lessons that go together.  The students stopped at this bend and celebrated their writing, before beginning the next leg of the journey.

Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure. 

We looked at four different lessons.  This is a sample of an Introduction, the student work and the commentary from one of those lessons.

Translation: One time I went to my cousin's. It was my first time catching a lizard's tail. It was moving. My mom was there. I put it in the grass and my sister was there.  I went (back) in the afternoon. Then her lizard got stuck in the bush. Then I held the lizard's tail. Then I went to go wash my hands.

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