Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Writers Workshop and Writing During Guided Reading

This weekend I got together with some wonderful blogger friends in St. Louis.  My goodness! I thought they would have to ask us to leave because we camped out for over three hours at the restaurant!
 Here we are... starting at the top!
Becky from Paint the Sky Green, Chrissy from Read, Write, Sing, Meredith from Keen on Kindergarten, Katie from Little Warriors, and ME!

We talked about a million things, but at some point we spoke about writing (go figure).

Anyhow, I shared about the guided writing I do with my students as a part of our guided reading lesson.
This book is from Rigby Sails.  I love them because of their high-frequency words!   Students can read engaging books successfully.   Nonfiction and fiction are awesome.   My only wish is that they would change the font a little.  The capital "I" looks like a lowercase "l".  Nothing a Sharpie won't fix.
After reading the book, we do a quick 5 minute write.  I try to focus more on the conventions during this time.    This group worked on different types of punctuation. 
 Roar!   This next group of pictures are from another guided reading book.  I thought I had grabbed this guided reading book to scan at home, but I bet it is still on my desk at school.  The book was about the different creatures, the number of legs they had, and what they used their legs for.  It is a level C text.
 Just keeping it real!  Not every student produces writing that looks amazing.  However, let me tell you my thoughts.   This little friend was able to pull out quite a few sounds.   He returned to his writing again and again.  He did edit the word  "have".  If you look at the lines he drew for words, you can see the "H" is in front of the line.  That is because he went back and added it.  His writing has meaning and it supports his illustration.  This is LEAPS AND BOUNDS beyond the large muscle scribble scrabble in September.   We are on our way!
 During writers's workshop we read and reread Cynthia Rylant's book Snow.  I am a self professed Rylant junkie!  We lingered over this illustration.  There is so much to see.  The young girl is drawing summer pictures. Grandma is planning out her garden.  Wonderful details.  We also talked about the colors the illustrator, Laura Stringer, choose.   Warm colors that feel cozy for the inside and cool colors that almost make you shiver for the outside.  One of my little sweeties noticed this book on the table.  Yep, Scarecrow! Also illustrated by Laura Stringer (we had to go back and check).
Writers' workshop is still messy for me.  I have trouble letting go of the control, but I am trying. How is writers' workshop working for you?


  1. What reading series does your school have?

    1. Hi Karen,

      We actually do not have a text book adoption. We teach literacy through balanced literacy. We create our own curriculum through a variety of resources. We use about 4 different vendors for our guided reading sets, but I think Sails and Literacy by Design are my favorites!

  2. I can't believe we were there 3 hours-it didn't feel that long! My school has those same guided reading books-we like them too.
    Keen on Kindergarten

  3. Those Guided Reading books look great! I would like to get my hands on a set.... can you share some additional information about them, please? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda! I love these books. I just added more information into my post with a link to Rigby. (I think this is where you can get them-although this may be the Australian web site...). We have had ours for 5+ years. They are pretty pricey (like all GR books I think).

  4. I love your glimpse into writer's workshop. And it is so refreshing to see a post with honest writing examples from students at this point in kindergarten. I understand about giving up control. I use Randee Bergen's sequence at the beginning of the year, then gradually turn them loose to sound out and write words on their own. I really believe they need the support of familiar text to write with confidence. My top two reading groups are venturing out now, charting their own waters...and it's so much fun! I mentioned on facebook the other day that one little fellow had spelled my last name as "Hustler"! It was a phenomenal moment for him, but I was having great difficulty holding back the chuckles! lol It sounds like your three hours weren't nearly long enough! Thank you for sharing this wonderful peek at your day.

  5. Writer's workshop is the best part of my day. I just started teaching small moment & personal narrative stories and my students call them "my moment" stories. I will have to check out the book Snow - I have not read that one yet.


  6. I'm glad you have let go during your Writer's Workshop. My favorite thing is Writing Workshop is when my students realize writing is a process and giving them choice on their writing. Your students have made so much progress already, I'm sure by the end of the year you'll be amazed!
    Rambling About Reading

  7. Love this peek into your kindergarteners' writing! I especially like to see the progression from September. Kindergarteners come so far in a short time! I teach reading K-5 and I love my kindergarteners! They are so excited and enthusiastic to learn something new.
    Conversations in Literacy

  8. I wish you could have been in my classroom today. The children were given blank books--yes, I paid attention at lunch!--and wrote about things/people they like. Precious. They were totally thrilled to use the pencil first and then go back and add color; I was surprised! They are marker junkies!

    I did have one lil darling break into sobs when I would not just tell her how to spell the words. Ooooh, perfectionism is such a burden! She actually said, "Just tell me already!" and then threw her head on her arms and wept. (10 seconds, not to worry)

    Most touching memory: Miss N. grabbed the Book of Words, found "teacher" and added it to her page about...me! Awww. I think I'll bring cookies tomorrow.

    When is our next lunch???!!!! hugs

  9. Love the pic! (I am so short though - there is a reason I teach kindergarten). I just added Math Workstations this year, so now I am going to work toward a Writer's workshop for next year. Thank you for the resources. It gives me a place to start.

  10. Next time bloggers from Missouri get to get together let me know. Don't know if there were any first grade teachers there ... but it sounds like a lot of fun to sit around and talk education with other bloggers.

    1. You bet Kim! I think we are going to try for sometime in March!

  11. Hi!
    My name is Heather and I work for Worth Ave. Group. We’re currently holding a contest for K-12 teachers to win grants for their schools, and iPads or iPods for their classrooms. If you’re interested in participating or nominating a teacher, feel free to email me or visit the link I’ve posted below.
    Have a great day!

  12. Deedee,
    I'm so bummed I missed out on meeting with all of you! I can't wait until March. I love the guided writing during guided reading. I just recently went to a FABULOUS workshop in St. Louis that was all about Reading and Writing. Talk to you soon!

    First Grade OWLS


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