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Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 1: Storytelling

I FINALLY got my book today and couldn't wait to start reading!  I just devoured Chapter 1 and am already inspired.  Here's what stuck with me...

Start the year with Storytelling.  Um, big "Duh" moment for me!  Next year we are definitely going to set aside time for oral storytelling.  It makes perfect sense!  Don't we start teaching syllables, segmenting, blending and the like orally?  Why wouldn't you do the same with stories?  I can see how this will lead to great improvement next year in my students' writing.  All year long I couldn't understand how they could tell such detailed stories, but not translate those details to their writing- well duh, I need to teach and role-model the connection between the two!

Writers tell stories about what they know.  This year I noticed my kiddos tended to write stories similar to books we had recently read, and I now know it's because I didn't spend enough time at the beginning of the year building their identity as authors with ideas and stories to tell of their own.  I love the idea of reading a book, then telling a story about a different topic but making the point that writers tell stories about what they know.

Set aside a special time for Storytelling.  We call this "Author Share" in our classroom.  Every day I choose 2-3 clothespins from our Author Share bucket for students to read their stories.  The author sits in a chair (which I definitely need to decorate next year!) while the other students sit "criss-cross applesauce" on the ABC Carpet.

Two things I want to focus on next year- student responses and assessment.  Nicole from Steele Teaching shared this story telling note freebie, which got me thinking about how I want to organize my anecdotal notes and assessments for writer's workshop and guided reading next year (can't wait to read Chapter 6 and see what everyone shares!)

I also wanted to create an anchor chart for Share Time.  I wanted to remind my kiddos of the rules and take them beyond "I liked..."  Here's what I came up with (click on the picture for your freebie):

Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles

I'm going to take pictures of our class following the steps so I can include them on the anchor chart!  I'm also very excited to model more responses to reading next year.  Regie Routman suggests that during Whole-Class Shares, we need to include both praise and suggestions in her chapter Conference with Students (from Writing Essentials).  I want my students to be able to articulate what they liked, but also ask questions and offer suggestions- for example, "I think you could make her face look sad on that page because she's sad."

Plant a Seed for Drawing/Writing.  After sharing stories for awhile, introduce the possibility of writing stories down by showing students a blank book.  Walk students through ideas for writing/drawing the verbal story on each page.  I LOVED the sample dialogue for how to do this!

So excited to read Chapter 2!  I can already tell this book will be instrumental in how I introduce and teach writer's workshop, especially at the beginning of the year.  Don't forget to check out everyone else's great ideas and link up with your own at the party!  :)


  1. Jessica, I'm so glad that you got your book! I'm about to dive into Chapter 2 in a minute. I agree with so many of the things that you loved as well! I love your idea of the anchor chart. I've always thought the 'How to be a listener' chart would be cute, but I love, love how you plan to make your kids 'own' it by taking their pictures!

    Teaching with Grace

    1. Thanks Jennifer! Can't wait to read your upcoming insights!

  2. Thanks for the link!! I never thought about using pictures of the students in action for the poster- Great idea!


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