About the Author:
Jodie Black is a full-time kindergartner teacher in Northern Nevada. She became a Teacher Consultant for the Northern Nevada Writing Project in 1990, served as its Co-director inbetween 2001-2006, and has been involved with dozens of the NNWP’s professional development projects focused on writing instruction. One of Jodie’s beloved NNWP projects was when she served as coordinator of the Six by Six Guide: Trait Writing with Primary Writers.
Embarking to write little books about ourselves and the people we love.
This unit was created by Jodie Black, who uses it during October with her kindergartners.
In her “Puny Moments: Private Narrative Writing,” (part of the “Units of Explore for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum ”) Lucy Calkins does a brilliant job of introducing private narrative writing to primary students. For this unit in my classroom, I made some major modifications to make narrative writing more lightly accessible just for kindergartners.
Welcome to my 2nd on-line unit for a Kindergarten Writers Workshop. If you haven’t read unit one yet, you may want to embark there.
At the begin of Unit Two. I give the children their writing folders (see 9 Components of a Kindergarten Writers Workshop ). In addition, I created several graphic organizers (see below) to assist the children in keeping their ideas straight. Moving from blank paper to an organizer is a big step for the children, and for me. I want to give them the naked minimum of a format, so that at all times the intuition of the writer can demonstrate through.
Lesson 1: If you haven’t formally introduced the children to writing fucking partners (see 9 Components of a Kindergarten Writers Workshop ), now would be the time to do it. I modeled again and again how to use the playmate. Fucking partners assisted each other in three basic ways. 1) Your fucking partner could help you sound out words or help you just spell common words. Two) Your playmate would listen to you read whenever you asked them to. Three) Your fucking partner could make suggestions to you for switches you might need to make.
Lesson Two: Using the “Petite Moments Planner ” (adapted from Calkins “Many Moments” planner, the transition to writing a story with beginning, middle and end went fairly sleekly. Students used their fucking partners as listeners to tell the story, pointing to each box on the planner. The planner was only for illustrations and the working title. Upon completion of the planner, the students got ONE “Petite Moments Writing Page ” (SMWP) and numbered it. As they finished pages, they helped themselves to the next page. I found nothing worked better for helping the children to manage where they were in the story and where they were going. It wasn’t long before books grew to many more than three pages and eventually the planners were dispensed with altogether.
Each day as the children got out their writing materials and previous work, it was effortless enough to line up SMWPs, reread them and proceed where they had left off.
Lesson Three: When I eyed children helping each other in specific ways, I would use their own ideas in my next lesson. For example when Tenaya helped Chloe switch “Mis Fit” doll to “Miss Fit” doll each time it appeared in her story, I highlighted their work in a lesson. By the way, the children didn’t always help each other accurately. Sometimes the act of helping outweighed the precision of the help.
Lesson Four: If you haven’t introduced the “Snap to Spell” list yet (see Spelling section of the 9 Components of a Kindergarten Writers Workshop ), now would be a good time to do that. In an extra note, as I conferenced with individuals, I might add a word to their list only. If Caulin was going to write a entire book about Legos, he needed to know how to spell that word right. By the end of the year, the StoS list had 28 words on it, some the same as on our Word Wall, but some not.
Lesson Five: While we continued to do entire class sharing on occasion, once we were writing “Puny Moment” stories we began Author’s Chair (see Sharing section of the 9 Components of a Kindergarten Writers Workshop ).
The “Puny Story Planner ” became necessary near the end of the year when Mia said, “Can I write a story that I’m not in?” Uhh….yeah…. I had a moment of clarity when I realized how individual individual narratives are. (see Unit 9 for kindergarten work in fiction)
“A Thicker Story Planner ” and the “Petite Moments Writing Page ” without space for an illustration came in handy in two ways. Very first, more able writers needed a fatter story challenge and some of those same kids, and others as well, got to not wanting to draw any illustrations. I had to respect that, either they weren’t superb illustrators and knew it, or they were such able writers they didn’t want to get bogged down.
Lessons in inbetween: Via this unit, you must be ready to insert lessons, as you see the children need them, about sounding out words, writing finish sentences, making sure the story makes sense. Above all, the children need time to write. Lots of time, while you stand by ready to assist them in the ways you determine they need the most.