Thursday, April 5, 2012

Developing Writing Skills in Kindergarten

Hello Everyone!
I'm Kelly from Kindergarten Kel. First, let me say how excited and honored I am to be a guest blogger here at Kindergarten Lifestyle. Thank you, Jeannie, for this very special opportunity!

Writing is one of my very favorite subjects to teach in kindergarten because of the huge amount of growth shown by each student throughout the school year. I also love teaching writing because it is so easily adaptable to different themes, topics, and ability levels!

For this post, I'll do a picture walk through some of the ways I encourage my young learners to become writers and really enjoy it. I can't take credit for these ideas, as most of them have been shared with me by my wonderful co-workers! Hopefully you connect with some of these ideas and can adapt them to fit the needs of your own classroom, even if you don't teach kindergarten.

ABC Books
We start our alphabet books at the beginning of the year and do 1-2 letters per week. I like to introduce the whole alphabet within the first few weeks of school, and then review each letter throughout the year, placing an increased emphasis on printing the letter neatly later on. On each page of this book, students sound spell two words that begin with the letter of the week, draw a corresponding picture, and print both the uppercase and lowercase version of the letter. When they are through with the page, they color in the letter box on the cover of the book. This is great writing practice for students who are easily overwhelmed by writing longer pieces of writing, and reinforces beginning sounds.

Write the Room/Rainbow Writing

Along with our ABC Book, I have students do a Write-the-Room and Rainbow Writing page for every letter of the week. I copy these activities front to back, and they work perfectly as an easy center activity. It helps reinforce beginning sounds, increases students' awareness of environmental print in our classroom, and is good handwriting practice for every student, especially those who struggle with their fine motor skills. Click here to get the rainbow writing pack from my TpT store for only $1.95!

Journals
I have tried many different versions of kindergarten journals, but these primary composition books are definitely my favorite. I think we ordered them from Lakeshore Learning this year. They hold up very well and each page has a space for a picture and writing. When I first introduce journals, I like to make a huge deal about how cool and grown up they are. We talk in detail about proper journal care. I have students start out by writing sentences using our sight words of the week during our writing time. After winter break, students progress to doing more open-ended, creative writing in their journals. It is usually one of their academic choices during quiet time. Sometimes I give them a journal prompt based on a theme, but often I let them "free write".

Parent Journals
Yay! My very FAVORITE writing activity that I use in my classroom is parent is parent journals. They are SO motivating, even for your most reluctant writers. Here's how they work: Students write a journal entry to their parents on Thursday. They bring their parent journal home for the weekend. Parents, grandparents, siblings, or other special people write back to the children. Students bring the journals back to school on Monday and I read what their parent has written to them! The students just love it. A key to making sure parent journals work in your classroom is to wait until your parent meeting night or first conference to explain them directly to the parents. They can be tricky for ELL families to understand and participate in, but I find that overall, they can be a positive writing tool for students.
Assessments
Here are two of the quarterly writing assessments I use to help me gauge what stage of writing the children are at, and how they are doing with writing sight words.

"Words I Know" (Sometimes this is also known as "Word Splash")
Students simply write down every word they know how to write conventionally.
You can see the different abilities of my current students in this comparison photo. One student wrote with the page upside down--red flag!

"Stages of Writing"-Jack and Jill
Students write the words to the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill". This helps me easily compare writing conventions and sound spelling among different students and shows a neat progression of writing growth from quarter to quarter.
Of course, this is just a small sampling of the writing activities that my class does throughout the year. I hope that you find some of these ideas adaptable for your classroom!

Come over and visit me at KindergartenKel for more ideas- plus I have a Target gift card giveaway going on that ends tomorrow night!

5 comments:

  1. I love all of these ideas for writing! I think next year I may try the Parent Journal. That seems super intriguing!

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  2. Yep - I absolutely love the parent journals! What a agreat way to make writing motivating and authentic!! - Plus parent support - terrific idea!!

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  3. You did an excellent job sharing with us! Thanks so much. It was very interesting!

    Lori
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

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