Sunday, October 21, 2012

WW with reading connection

In the past two weeks we have turned WW up a notch.  My kiddos have been doing well with labeling and I wanted to go further to enhance their writing.  I saw a super cute anchor chart from Reading and writing and decided to add some more elements.  I introduced a new story element every couple of days.  I recorded the elements on the anchor chart and focused on them in my own writing during my mini-lesson modeling.  Then I invited my kinders to practice incorporating those elements in their own writing. 

Our WW starts with a mini-lesson, 10 minutes of quiet writing time, and ten minutes of writing time they can use to work with others.  I also use those last ten to conference.  Lucky for me, I have my RtI support teacher in there with me, so we can both pull kids.  Unfortunately, those ten minutes of conferencing were only productive for the kids conferencing.  The other 28 at their seats were talking, playing, and definitely off task.  I had a few super stars who kept working, but most of them had reached their limit.  I needed a way to make that time productive for everyone (so that I could actually conference and not be a police officer!)  We had been using the anchor chart to guide our writing, and I wanted them to continue with that during the last ten minutes.  We practiced with some Author's Chair time:  I picked a few students each day who shared their pieces and we gave positive feedback.  To my pleasant surprise, my kids were saying things like, "I like the way you used characters" and "You did a good job showing us your setting."  I was THRILLED.  They were using the terms without me even prompting or asking them.  Once I saw that, I knew I could use this to my advantage.  Our last ten minutes soon transformed into buddy sharing time.  My kids paired up, found a comfy spot, shared their writing, and with the help of a mini-rubric, discussed what went well and what they could add.  It was AMAZING to walk around and hear their conversations.  They were talking about adding trees as details in the setting.  They were stretching out words to incorporate in their writing.  They were using everything I had hoped they would and they were productive the entire time.  Once I saw that, I didn't even want to pull them for conferencing!

Here is the rubric I made for them to keep track of what they should include.  They could check each thing as they went and when they met with a buddy.

Here is a sample from one of my little friends.  He is low academically, but LOVES writing time.  The smile on this kid's face when he gets to share is priceless.  His picture shows he has a long way to go, but I'm still thrilled with his progress.  He has characters, he has labeled them (with letters), his characters have feelings, he has a rainbow to show his setting is outside, he added eyelashes to his sister (details), and wrote letters on the bottom to include the "words" of his story.  He is incorporating all of the elements (showing he is understanding what is expected) at his level (showing it is meaningful for him).

 This friend is my resident illustrator.  His character is another boy at his table, and his setting is our classroom (we have bears on the windows and walls for the PM class).  He labeled his picture and used the label to write a sentence.  I met with him later at conferences and he added more details and words to his sentence.  He is ready to write words and is definitely using his time productively.

This is the work of another friend ready to write words.  He has included happy characters (spiders and a friend), in a setting outdoors (with a sun).  He has labeled parts of his picture and incorporated that label in a sentence.  I love his kinder spelling!

After seeing these results, I wanted to take the opportunity to reinforce the terms and elements when reading.  I wanted to use our anchor chart to show how most stories we read can also serve as a mentor text. 
 I created this chart to mirror our writing anchor chart and highlight these story elements when we read in class.  We used If You Give a Moose a Muffin as our first mentor text with the chart.  I read the book to the class and afterwards, we pair/shared answers for each element.  I wrote their answers on post-its and stuck them on in the appropriate places.  It worked perfectly!  I laminated the chart so we could also write on it with dry-erase markers.  We have used it a few times and it's been a great tool to reinforce the vocabulary and reading comprehension.


  1. May I use the "writers add" poster and checklist as part of an insect unit I am developing for kindergarten learners? I am asking them to practice stretching their perspective-taking skills by imagining themselves as insects and writing about it.

  2. Do you have a printable version of your rubric?

  3. Do you have a printable version of your rubric that you are willing to share? I also love your picture story map as the mentor for your rubric. Any chance you could email them to me?