Keep Writing #sol20
March 12, 2020
Unexpectedly I was asked to cover for kindergarten class one day last week. I dropped in and the teacher said, the students have just started writing. Great I thought, I love writing.
Immediately the cry went up. What do I write? I need help! The young writers were all sitting at their tables with a 3 step How-to page in front of each student. Peering at the illustrations, the first was a child mixing something. The second illustration was a oven. The last illustration was a child frosting or putting sprinkles on the cookie.
Oh, wait! I said. Let’s plan out our writing together. What is this about? Baking cookies was the unanimous response. Ok, I thought. Here we go. Let’s look at this first picture. What do you think you do first when you bake cookies?
Mix the dough! the kindergarten writers respond.
Great! Let’s look at this picture. (Oven) What’s happening? I don’t see the cookies. I wait for them to explain. They are quick. The cookies are in the oven. I smile. Oh, I say, bake the cookies.
There’s one more picture. What happens after you take them out of the oven?
They look carefully at the picture. The room is quiet for a minute or two. Look at the picture. What’s happening? They look closer. One of them offers, he’s putting sprinkles on the cookies. Nods of agreement around the room. The room explodes with talk.
The pencils start moving. As I notice writers are struggling to get started, I pull a few into a group on the rug in front of the phonics chart. What did we want to write first? Mix the cookies, they respond. Let’s think about M-i-x. I stretch out the word. What letter makes the mmm? As we begin to work through the sounds, they begin to tentatively write, and then help each with the sounds. I move away letting them keep going.
Other students begin to finish. I’m done. I’m done. begins to pop up around the room. Oh.. I say. You’re not done! What else could you teach me about? Do you want to write on the back of this paper or do you want another piece to write your next How-To?
There we go starting our next phrase, I move again table to table, talking over their steps. It’s fun to talk over with them their how-to plans. One young writer says, I don’t know what to write about. Hmm… I say, Did you get up this morning? Giggles ensue. Yes! she says. Ok, what did you do first? Step by step we talk through telling her mom what she wants to to eat. Then what? On she goes telling me about eating breakfast. I tease her about just leaving it sitting on the table. No! she say, I clean up my place and then I get ready for school.
There you go! You’re all set. Get writing.
It goes on like this until the magical hour I didn’t know I was going to have is all up. I say thank you to those brave writers and head toward the door. Wait! they press into me. Take my writing! Take my writing!
I’ll make a copy and bring it right back to you.
I hold each one carefully. Read them again and cherish each of them and slip them into my unit book to be shared and shared and shared.