Elementary school is an interesting thing. Because of the way that school has been structured for years and years, we teach and learn all the subjects together in one day, yet each one is compartmentalized into it’s only little spot in the schedule. Well that’s how it’s traditionally done, but I try my hardest to help my kiddos see that “writing” is not just something we do from 10:30 to 11:15 every day, just like “reading” doesn’t only happen from 9:00-10:30. These are just things that we do as learners and they are ways we learn and show our learning.
That being said…we do have specific things that we do as writers on most school days. One of those is write. During Writers’ Workshop. (I know, I told you it was interesting). I wanted to share two things that we’ve done lately that help show our growth as writers over time.
First of all was a writing challenge. I love how when I told my kiddos that we were going to have a writing challenge they pretty much all cheered. I don’t know if it was the “writing” part or the “challenge” part, but either way I was pleased. The challenge was to take a piece of writing they had done at the being of our last writing cycle (Small Moments) and work to improve it to show the things they had learned over the last few weeks that they didn’t know before. They would revise and edit their piece and then publish a final draft. They worked with a writing partner (which is also something we typically do as writers in our room) to help make sure they didn’t miss anything. They sure worked hard and their final pieces turned out pretty great!
Secondly, remember how I shared that everybody has their “big” notebook now? It means I finally got to share the lesson about how to take all those super smart entries they wrote while they were learning about Writers’ Notebooks and save some of them. Basically they had to ask reread the entries in their tiny notebooks, and then ask themselves if they were: 1) important, 2) something that showed what they can do as a writer, 3) something they could use in the future, or 4) something they wanted to remember. If the answer was YES to any or all of those, then they taped it into their big notebook to save for later. It was great to see their reflecting and thinking as they evaluated their writing over the last few months. Great stuff happening there, too!