We’ve been busy-bee readers in Rm. 202!  Remember how I told you about Read-to-Self?  Well, after we figured out how to do that pretty well, it was time to add something else to our Reader’s Workshop time and our good readers toolbox.

A few days ago we started talking about how good readers sometimes work at getting better by reading to someone else.  Before we jumped in with both feet, we had a conversation about what it would look like/sound like to work well while reading to someone.  We decided you should be sitting right next to your reading friend, that you should be using quiet voices, and that there are several ways to read with your friend: both of you in the same book, each reader with a copy of the same book, or one takes a turn and then the other.  As we go through the year we’ll learn more about how to get better at helping our partner figure out words, as well as how to have deep conversations about the books we’re reading together.  For now, though, we’re getting good at the routine of read-to-someone, and having fun working on reading with our friends!


Evan and Jacob read a Black Lagoon book together.


Landen and Nate get comfy on the rug with their book.


Amelia and Millie read a dinosaur book on the rug together, too!


Sara and Makayla read at the coffee table together. Don’t you just love how great that table works with little learners? Just the right height for kneeling. 🙂


Emily and Ava each have a copy of an old favorite–Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola.


Ella Marie and Briannia share another old favorite–Clifford!


Diego and Thomas found a cozy spot in the corner to have a conversation about their book.

For kiddos–What’s your favorite part about read-to-someone?

For parents–What are your kiddos saying about read-to-someone?  What book would you choose to read if you were in Rm. 202?

For teachers–What tips do you have for using read-to-someone with first grade readers?

We want to hear from you! 🙂

Small Moments

We have been moving and grooving in first grade–in more ways than one.  We’ve been moving our bodies, but also moving our minds as we are learning about what good writers do.

In our district, and at our school, we use a wealth of knowledge and resources to teach our content.  Right now we are utilizing a FABULOUS unit of study from Lucy Calkins, all about personal narratives–which she calls Small Moments.

So far, we’ve set the stage for our Writer’s Workshop, by learning the procedures, as well as important things like where we keep the paper and other supplies in our writing center.  We are just a few days in and have already talked about:

  • how writers remember the story by telling it out loud first, thinking about the beginning, middle and end
  • how writers remember the story by touching and telling the story across the pages of their booklet, sketching the pictures first, then writing the words
  • how writers can go back and add in details they forgot the first time, using carats to add words, or just writing more to the end
  • how writers can tell the difference between a WATERMELON story or the SEEDS inside it  (which are the small moments we are focusing on)
  • how writers stretch out words they don’t know how to spell, and use the words around the room and the word wall to help them
  • how writers need each other–writers worked with a partner to add details by answering questions their partners were wondering about (like who, when, where, why, etc..)

It’s been really amazing to see the progress both in writers’ ability and their willingness to try new things in just the short days we’ve been working together.


Evan, Millie and Ava are hard at work on their writing. Don’t forget your name and number on the top! We’re working on learning the date, too. 🙂


Charlie’s getting started by sketching his picture first, then adding the words to the beginning of his story.


Check out how Landen’s being a super-smart first grade writer and using the alphabet chart to figure out the sounds in his words!


C.J. uses the alphabet chart, too, as he adds words to his pictures. Jacob is hard at work getting his ideas down, too!


See Thomas using his rubber band to stretch out a word? Peyton checks out the chart, and Lauren is busy working on a story about a princess. 🙂


During our Writer’s Workshop, writers can work wherever they think they can do their best work. Ella Marie found a studio spot all by herself at the kitchen table.


Makayla and Briannia are working on their Small Moments at Table 3.

Millie shows off her word wall skills as she writes Joshua's name.  There are rings with the word wall words that hang under the regular words that kiddos can take to their tables to use and return.

Millie shows off her word wall skills as she writes Joshua’s name. There are rings with the word wall words that hang under the regular words that kiddos can take to their tables.

We have an anchor chart to help us remember the steps to writing a story.  We have been adding steps to it along the way.

We have an anchor chart to help us remember the steps to writing a story. We have been adding steps to it along the way.

Our writing folders help keep us organized: the green means it's a story that we're still working on and the red is for stories we're finished with for now.

Our writing folders help keep us organized: the green means it’s a story that we’re still working on and the red is for stories we’re finished with for now.  The file folder in there will come later, but will be for the project kiddos are working on right now.




Becoming a Writer: It Starts Here!

It’s no secret that I LOVE writing.  Besides just doing it, I read about it, talk about it and LOVE teaching it.  I am sure you’ve read those posts here, and if you haven’t, why you take a minute and do so?  It’ll be worth your while, I promise! (In addition to the posts I linked, you could check out the writing tab or category for more about what writing looks like in my classroom).

So it’s also no secret that I was a little sad about leaving what “big kid” writers do.  When I first learned about my move back to primary, I lamented the lessons I wouldn’t teach about using the Writer’s Notebook, conversations I wouldn’t have and craft lessons that I wouldn’t be able to include in my Writer’s Workshop; first grade writing is more about becoming a writer than being a writer.  In short, I felt like I was leaving a little bit of myself in 5th grade–a part of me that I would really miss.

And yet, the more days I spend with my little writers the more I’m remembering the joy of teaching beginning writers.  The wonder and amazement that they come to my lessons with is priceless.  The smiles on their faces as they share stories of learning to ride a bike, tackle a scary roller coaster or ride to school and wave to someone out the window of the bus.  As we are learning strategies that real writers use in their work, I can see them file those in their toolboxes to pull out later in their writing.  I am already seeing progress in the way friends are adding details to their pictures, adding sounds to their words and ideas to their writing.

The most exciting part of being on this end of a student’s writing journey is the influence I have in helping them learn to see themselves as writers–and maybe even like it!  There were times that 5th grade writing was frustrating because there was such a hurdle to cross in getting them to believe they could do it.  Unfortunately, back then my friends had 5 years of believing the WEREN’T writers or that they HATED writing to try to overcome in the short amount of time of time we had together.  Now, I get to help these little friends start to see the power in their words and encourage them to do great things with them–for today and for years to come!

And so yeah…I’m kinda pumped about it. 🙂