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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stages in Writing, Part Three

Wow, look at how she is filling up that white space with color and detail. She is saying so much in her picture with facial expressions and changes in the setting. If I was limiting her drawing time this might not be happening. But, some of you might be thinking, I don't have time to let kids draw that long.
This is what I have tried with her and those alike. Set a timer for ten minutes close by. They draw for ten minutes; however, this is not a race against the timer or a high pressure situation. No one needs to finish and it is important that they know this to be true. I do ask them at the end of ten minutes to write for five minutes give or take. It is at this point I check back in (hopefully, fingers crossed) to see what we have going on and jot down notes or offer minimal support--I want to see what they can do, not tell them what to do. I then ask them what they have planned for the rest of workshop. Some continue writing, more of them (those at this stage) go back to drawing. I think some kids just need more structure, not limits necessarily, but structure to their process so they don't get too lost. I need to remember to value where they are and if drawing is what they need, it is my job to provide time for this step in their process.
This time of year always presents challenges in a kindergarten classroom because the varying levels of writers get more and more different from each other. These kids need a timer, this student needs me to check in every few minutes, this group needs a quieter space, that child is ready to move, move, move and needs a little push to get there, and so on and so on and so on! It is also a time of growth, making it all worth while.

My dad and sissy went to grandma's.

 My dad and Olivia went up first.

I was there. I felt good.


  1. It sounds like you are really honoring your students' needs as writers. That's great.

  2. What a journey for you and the writers! You are supporting each and every writer at their point of need. All three of you posts show an incredibly thoughtful teacher guiding these young writers. Keep posting this learning. It gives me validity as I work with kindergarten teachers. Thank you!

  3. I love hearing about how you manage, a little structure, a little letting loose. And you are right, although I think it about numerous ages, by now they're growing farther apart in abilities. The pictures are sophisticated with lots of detail, aren't they?

  4. What wonderful work your students are doing! I love how they are building their stamina and making choices. It is an exciting time of year. :)

  5. This is my favorite time of year because my students really do take off - but like your students, the disparity between their abilities seems to widen! It is challenging to support each learner. Your post reminded me that I want to write about a practice I'm doing to revisit work and build capacity.


Thanks for the comment love!