I know…Kids Teach Kids usually means students have researched something they are interested in and are sharing their new knowledge with their class–and we will definitely do that version of KTK later on this year–but for now it has to do with some great things we learned from Mrs. Mark’s class last week when we went for a little visit. Let me explain. 🙂
Last week on Friday (the day after we had tackled our first step of ICEL and put kids in charge of our schedule), I was again looking for ways to enhance engagement and help kiddos dig in a little deeper into things in our class. I was still considering the problem-solving protocol of ICEL and was contemplating both I and C…
…and hoped that I could challenge my writers in a different way by having them see what other first graders were doing with their nonfiction book writing. I asked my neighbor and friend Mrs. Marks (remember her double dog dare from last time?) if she would allow us to come learn from her kiddos, as I had seen some CRAZY great stuff in there on a recent pop in to chat about something else. She was more than happy to oblige and we went over for a lesson from her kiddos. My students had a mental list of look-fors and were also directed to ask questions about what they saw during our visit.
We saw some pretty great writing in Rm. 204! They had added all of the “smart” things we’d been learning about that non-fiction writers put in their books to make their readers understand. We saw headings, diagrams, pictures, bold words, table of contents, glossaries and labels. And we saw really excited writers with whole folders full of books! Needless to say, this was inspiring to my kiddos! I would have to say, one of the biggest things we walked away with, too, was all of the different sizes of books that were made in Rm. 204; our books are all just regular paper-sized books on 8 X 11 in. paper.
As we left Rm. 204, Mrs. Marks invited my writers to take a little book from her pile to try. We were so excited about the teeny-tiny ones she had!
Of course our next step was to return to our room and get to writing, yes? Well, almost. Ms. Turken (our Rm. 203 neighbor) needed our room for a messy project with her class (because we have a sink!), so we were working in her classroom for the morning. So…our next step was to return to HER room and get to writing. I didn’t even stop to give directions or even talk about what they had seen from Mrs. Marks’ class–I wanted them to get busy and SHOW me what they learned by using their new knowledge. And boy did they do just that!
See all those tiny books?
One thing we noticed about Mrs. Marks’ books that was different than our work was that they were using mentor texts to help them with their own writing. Kiddos got ideas as well as examples for text features from the books they were reading, and then made their own texts based on those texts. We had been just using what we were experts at and what we have personal knowledge of. This mentor text idea was very helpful to many of my kiddos, and was the support that many of them needed to get moving on their writing. Oh, and Ms. Turken’s room has markers, which was also a great addition (ours have been put away for a while because we couldn’t take care of them….). 🙂
We have not quite finished this writing cycle, but will do so by Tuesday, so I will share what our final products looked like. Thanks Mrs. Marks’ friends for adding some spice and excitement to our Writers’ Workshop! We love to learn from our friends and when kids teach kids great things can happen!