I feel like I'm coming back to a long-lost friend. I don't know why, but I have to say that after 22 years of teaching, this year has been the most overwhelming. Friends, why is this happening? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is it Common Core? Is it that we're testing way too much?
Anyway, we started Writing Fundamentals this year and I've been pulling my hair out. I'm desperately trying to understand how to get kindergartners to write more. In my struggles, I made up a couple new papers that you all might like. The book that inspired me was Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk.
The book really stresses that you should write about what you know. I really appreciate that message. I mean, it's more motivating to pick your own topics, and you can picture things better if you know the subject matter. So I thought, why not make up some papers for what you love, what you dream about, and what makes you happy. These are all topics that my students really got into. They couldn't wait to go back to their seats and write!
Another thing I just tried yesterday was a lesson on labeling. Another teacher in my building, Lauren, found this idea on Pinterest. You write the body part labels in front of the children as they shout out parts of you that they want labeled. I also asked them what letter the word started with, since this is the beginning of the year. One little girl even knew how to spell "foot". It was really fun, and the students went back to their seats with a Body Parts Folder that I created, and proceeded to make their own labeled drawings of their bodies.
Oh, I almost forgot that I used the songs "The Body Rock" and "Body Talk" by Greg & Steve as engagement for the activity. They worked really nicely to prepare the students for a lesson on body parts and the labeling activity.
I'd love to know some ideas from all of you for early writing. Please leave a comment below.