Thursday, May 21, 2015

Narrative Post-Prompt

With soft music playing in the background, our students took 45 minutes today to complete their last prompt piece of the year, this time a small moment narrative. Most of these students we have had for two years. Some came in drawing detailed pictures with the ability to orally tell us about the pictures. At most, they could write a few words, like love, mom, dad and their name. A few came only able to scribble.

Lucky for us (and for them!), Lucy Calkins and Teacher's College, introduced their new writing units as we began kindergarten with this group. We eagerly embraced the new units the day they were in our building. We are so fortunate to have a Reading Coach, Melanie Holtsman, in our building that has been steeped in Lucy's work for years and is an often participant in the summer professional development offered by Teachers College, so we had help along the way as we implemented. We had discussions and saw demo lessons.  This is not the adopted writing curriculum for our county, so we are so fortunate to have a Principal with vision that can see the value and find the money to offer this curriculum to our students.  We were able to teach three of the units before kindergarten came to a close last year and then have been actively engaged with the four first grade units all of this year.

We can see the difference it is making in our youngest writers and today the students will produce this final on-demand piece. As I walked around, I could see that students were going back, rereading and editing.  They had their personal word wall outs to check words, and you could see them stretching words that were unfamiliar.  They were going back to check punctuation, and you could see them erasing and adding capitals. But even more than the conventions, I could see that they were adding dialogue (part of the second grade standard for narrative).  They were adding details to their drawings, speech bubbles and labels.  The best thing is that almost without exception, they worked solidly, without a sound, totally engaged for the entire 45 minutes!  Writing stamina is simply a way of life! As we took the booklets up, I wanted to stop right there and read every one!  We can't wait to see what they have written!

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