The writing process…my very favorite thing to teach out of just about everything there is in the history of teaching. I would say there are some other things that are more “fun,” like doing crafts during math (crafts that fit the skill of course), but my heart is still in the writing process. Who wouldn’t love gathering ideas in a graphic organizer, and then writing those ideas into a draft that needs to be revised and then edited. Once everything is all crossed out and marked up (which is actually my favorite part…have you realized how big of a dork I am yet?) you can write your final copy. You feel like you are done at this point, but you can’t forget the publishing stage. You can make it look beautiful, and even turn it into a little book with pictures if you would like. The possibilities are endless. I love reading the things that kids come up with. Sometimes they write such creative stories and I find myself thinking where do they come up with this stuff?
And then you have those other kids. The ones who write 3 sentences and then write a giant THE END at the bottom of the page so it looks like they wrote a lot. No amount of modeling and coaxing can get them to think creatively. The act of getting words from their brain to their paper is pure torture. We have a lot of different ability levels in our classroom, and with that comes a lot of different writing speeds. We started a writing project a few days ago, and today I realized that more than half of the class is not at the stage that I had hoped they were. Today I taught about revision. I used this website that shows Ezra Jack Keats’ typescripts from the story, Peter’s Chair. It shows how he revised a lot of times throughout the course of his writing process. Sometimes kids seem to think that they can write a draft and that is it…the end…they are finished. I did this lesson today and it was a powerful example that a real-life author actually changes things many many times before a book can make it to the publishing stage. I told the students that they had to find 5 or more places to revise in their story, and as I checked over it, I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many students revised in perfect Ezra Jack Keats style. THEY ARE LEARNING SOMETHING!!! Hooray!
But that brings me (back) to those other kids. The giant THE END kids. They didn’t make it to the revising stage today. Some of them are not even done writing their rough draft. With 37 students, it can be pretty difficult to keep tabs on where everyone is in the writing process. That is why I created this project-so we can know how everyone is doing. It will help us know when it is time to move on to the next step, and it will (hopefully) keep kids feeling accountable for doing their work.
The Pinterest Project lady created one where she could put sticks in envelopes with everyone’s name. I am not sure what will work best in our class. I plan to laminate this, so I was thinking they could write in dry erase or transparency markers and then erase it when they needed to move it. Otherwise I was thinking about using sticky notes. I am just afraid that even the small ones will be too big for a lot of names on one step, and they can easily get knocked off or lost. (I think I just talked myself out of using sticky notes.) I will keep you updated on my monthly update that is coming up in just 9 days!