So it’s time to return to writer’s workshop, which I first learned about in January of last year. At our first writer’s workshop meeting, I said, “I’m going to get my magic wand. Here it is. Now, I’m going to use magic to turn you all into writers.” The kids looked at me, totally attentive. I waved my magic wand (really, my classroom pointer) and said, “Abracadabra! There, I did it. You guys are all writers now. We are going to write stories.”
That was just a spur-of-the-moment idea, but it worked. The kids totally believed me.
We went to the tables to write true stories of things that have really happened to us for my pre-writing assessment, and they ROCKED.
One little girl, whose native language is not English, drew a picture that clearly showed someone falling off a house. It turns out that happened to her mom — maybe she was trying to remove snow from the roof? Anyway, the child told me her story was “My mom fell off my house.” So I said each word aloud, with a slight emphasis on the first sound, and she wrote down her story this way: “MMFFMH.” In other words, M(y) M(om) F(ell) of(F) M(y) H(ouse). Pretty good, huh?
Another child, a real smartie, wrote “I WET T MI MOM WERK” (I went to my mom’s work) all by herself. Another wrote “IPMNSS” — I P(layed) M(onster) (i)N (the) S(now).
My developmentally lower sweethearts, with either special needs or lack of any kind of literacy support or exposure at home, did well, too. I thought they would say, “I can’t write!” or “How do you write ___?” or “Can you write it for me?” Nope, they told me their stories and wrote them down with lots and lots of confidence, not to mention lots and lots of lovely pretend letters. Yay!
They are STILL writing, two days later. Two of my highest kids sat down today with my Americorps volunteer, and wrote my morning message. They would say the words, then she would repeat them, one at a time, and they would write down the words they heard. It was WAYYY kindergarten or early first grade level work. I am so proud.