Monday, December 3, 2012

Writer's Workshop on a Magical Monday

This Monday we started our Fairy Tales & Legends theme and it was amazing!  :)  What a great day!  The kiddos are really excited and engaged, and so am I!

Today we started by brainstorming all the fairy tales we know of.  Predictably, Disney renditions dominated. So we jumped right into what do all these fairy tales have in common?  Here is a list my kiddos came up with this morning (and added to after reading Cinderella during our literacy block; hence the "bad guys" addendum!)

We are going to keep adding to this list all week long, as well as putting example anchor texts in the windows of the castle.  I love this anchor chart!  It's my favorite one yet that I've made for writer's workshop!

My kiddos were so excited about fairy tales, they could hardly wait to make their own using our pre-stapled blank books in the writing center.  The construction of these books is pretty simple; I fold two pieces of paper in half "hamburger style" and staple.  I put a star on each page that illustrations go on (one page for beginning, middle, and end).  I am looking forward to adding more pages as the year goes on!

Ariel Who Lost Her Friends

I am so proud and amazed by the work they do every day, I just have to share with you.  My first writer to share this week is very strong in her letter recognition and letter sound awareness; she also has great letter formation and can write almost every letter of the alphabet without looking at a reference.

Writer's workshop has been a struggle for her partly due to the practice of dictation in prior classrooms.  We have been working all year on the concept that her pictures convey meaning and it is her responsibility as the author and illustrator to convey meaning.  I am so proud of her today!  She wrote a great story entitled "Ariel Who Lost Her Friends."  When she first said "I'm done!" and shared her story, it originally contained only a picture of Ariel on each page.  I highlighted some parts of her story that I particularly noticed, such as how she started with "Once upon a time" and made sure that she had a happy ending.  Then, I decided to prompt a little with, "What do you think you could draw to help you remember what is happening on each page of your story?"  She decided to change Ariel's face to look sad on the first page and add a friend on each page as she finds them.

Once upon a time Ariel lost her friends.

And then she found one friend.

And then she found all of her friends!

Note that I only write down words for the story after it has been retold several times by the author, and I usually inconspicuously record them reading it with an app on my phone during Author Share so they don't even know when I transcribe it later.  :)

I will add more of these as the week goes on, the work my prekinders do is truly amazing and I can't wait to share it with you!

So now the question is, what is our big important corporate person going to make of this tomorrow?  I am not sure what to think since writer's workshop is definitely not in the curriculum (which thinks that prekinders copying words into writing journals is what we should do every week).  I guess I'll find out!  I am a little nervous.  I mean, I don't really feel "old" enough yet to be making all these innovations, you know?  It'd be different if I had several years teaching experience under my belt!  :)  But it's totally worth it.  I see my kiddos' growth as writers, hear them talking about their favorite authors and compliment each other on their illustrations, and I can't imagine doing anything differently.

Till tomorrow!  Or Friday.  Depends on how much sleep I get this week!  :)

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