Like many Mondays this school year, I found myself in Isabelle’s classroom yesterday morning. And like many Mondays I’ve volunteered in Isabelle’s classroom, I talked to Isabelle yesterday morning about what she was planning to write in her journal. She came up with a story idea (i.e., visiting someone’s sukkah a few months ago), but that was it. I told her that stories have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Then, I demonstrated by telling her a story, across my fingers, that had a beginning a middle, and an end. Afterwards, we practiced her story (about 10 times!) until she felt confident enough to do it on her own at school.
I did a minilesson during her class’s circle for the past two weeks. I used this chart in my minilesson:
Isabelle did not request to come to the writing center first yesterday. About halfway through center time, she joined me at the table. There was another girl there who was actually writing words independently. She was curious about her classmates letters on the page, but also seemed frustrated she couldn’t write her own wordsI can’t write words!” she told me before starting the drawing for the story we discussed in the morning.
“I can’t write words!” she told me before starting the drawing for the story we discussed in the morning.
“Tell me, ‘I can’t write words yet.'” I retorted.
“I can’t write words, Mommy!”
“You will learn how to, Isabelle. That’s the next step. Today you’re adding words by telling me the story and then I will write them for you. I want you to say ‘I can’t write words yet.'” (There’s nothing like shoving a growth mindset down your kid’s throat, right?)
She complied. “I can’t write words yet.” Then she opened her marker and started drawing.
Once her drawing was complete, I labeled it with small sticky notes. Then, I made an audio recording of her on my phone.
This version wasn’t quite as detailed as the one she recited at home in the morning, but I was delighted by it. (Especially because she used the word finally in her story to signify the last thing she did.) I also reminded her, after I finished writing her words on the sticky note, that she was a good writer because she went through the writing process by thinking (and talking about her story), drawing it, and having someone add the words.