Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reading and Writing: Choose a Workspace

We've been telling oral stories in writing since the sixth day of school.  It's taken a bit of time, but students are starting to understand the flow of a story and what needs to be included.  This is really important to practice before giving pencil and paper and asking for a written story.  Kids can get overwhelmed by the idea of writing a story if they're unsure what "story" means.  When I introduced the writing folders and writing paper today, so many students (who couldn't tell me a true story on the first day of school) drew detailed pictures about where they'd gone or what they'd done and attempted to write!

 Students are telling their Turn&Talk partners a true story about something that happened to them.
Partners are listening for answers to all of the Who? What? When? Where? questions and prompting for more information if necessary.

This is the first year I've allowed this, but I gave students the freedom to choose their writing spot anywhere in the room.  The exact wording was actually "you will find your own writing workspace."  We discussed that a workspace is only a good one if it will help us get work done with little to no distractions.

I was really impressed with the quality choices students made for workspaces.

Just look at how spread out they are! And they chose those spots all by themselves!

Reading spots were assigned, mostly because sitting back to back is new to kids and they needed enough space for both partners.  We've built up to 10 minutes of quiet, independent reading and 10 minutes of partner shared reading.

Yes, reading right now constitutes looking at the pictures and telling the story or sharing what they've learned, but that is reading. They are gaining meaning from what's been put in the book.

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