I'm Molly from Lessons with Laughter. This fall I will start my third year teaching 4th grade and I couldn't be happier! I have used the Daily 5 in my classroom since I started teaching. I have learned so many new ideas from everyone during our book study so far and I can't wait to hear some more of your ideas! I hope that my ideas will be helpful for you as well!
We are splitting up chapter 6 into two sections: Work on Writing and Word Work. I am going to be talking about Work on Writing while the wonderful Dana from 3rd Grade Gridiron will be discussing Word Work!
Work on Writing
"In helping students tune their ears--and mouths and eyes, and even their fingertips, their nerve endings--to the glorious range of ways they can string words together, we need to encourage them to fool around, to experiment, to break rules even before they know all the rules. Who ever knows all the rules, anyways?
- Judith Rowe Michaels
By the time work on writing is introduced, students are pretty familiar with the gradual-release model for the Daily 5. Ideally, Work on Writing is not meant to be the sole writing time for students, it is meant to supplement writing instruction done at another time during the day. The difference in Work on Writing is that instead of writing a specific genre, it is writing of their choice.
Work on Writing is one of my students' favorite times during the Daily 5. Why? Because they have a choice on the writing that they want to do. Here are a couple favorite choices my students pick during Work on Writing.
I've blogged about Kidblog before, and it is wonderful way to integrate writing and technology! I set up an account at the beginning of the year for our class, and each student has their own blog. On their blog, students write reviews for books that they have finished. Then, they all show up on the homepage when students log in, so they can see the most recent book reviews. Students can use their Work on Writing time to write book reviews and to write comments on their classmates' posts. Throughout the year I will also write a post asking them to reflect on something we did, or discuss their favorite part of a field trip, so they can write a response to that as well.
Another choice during Work on Writing is writing a letter to me about a book they are reading. I did away with reading logs (thanks to The Book Whisperer!) and in their place students write me a friendly letter every week telling me about a book they are reading. Some of my students use Work on Writing to write me a letter (or several letters) telling me all about the books they are currently reading! You can read more about the letters here, and see some samples of my students' letters.
During our regular writing block we begin by doing power writing. That is when I give students a fun story starter or question and they have 2 minutes to write on that topic. When time is up, they put their pencils down and count how many words they wrote down. It focuses on getting your thoughts down on paper and not worrying about spelling as much. This is such great practice for my kiddos and it is amazing to see them go from just a sentence or two the first day to whole paragraphs after several weeks! My students always get so excited about the stories they start during power writing, so many of them like to come back to them and continue working on them during Work on Writing!
Story folders are another great choice for students during Work on Writing! I got this idea from Tara from 4th Grade Frolics and this is something that I plan on doing next year! To make story folders you can use book sleeves from picture books (or print out pictures of book covers) and glue them to the front of folders (one cover per folder). On the inside of the folder you can put pieces of looseleaf paper. Students can pick a folder and write a story that goes along with the cover and title!
These are just a few of the many choices you can offer students during Work on Writing. And of course, I have a spot in my classroom where I keep a bunch of looseleaf paper if they just want to get a piece a piece and write something else that comes to mind... a poem, letter to a family member, anything goes, as long as they are working on their writing!
1. How do you use Work on Writing in your classroom? Are you able to set it up as a supplemental writing time?
2. What are some other ways you can expand students' choices for writing? Do you have any great choices to share?
I would LOVE to hear your comments on how you run (or plan to run) Work on Writing in your classroom!