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A Kindergarten Writers Workshop Unit from WritingFix
sharing ideas & adaptations that help make Kindergarten Writers Workshop a reality

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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 between 2001-2006, and has been involved with dozens of the NNWP's professional development projects focused on writing instruction. One of Jodie's favorite NNWP projects was when she served as coordinator of the Six by Six Guide: Trait Writing with Primary Writers.

Unit Three:

Read It!
Helping each other to make sure we are making sense.

This unit was created by Jodie Black, who uses it during November with her kindergartners.

The series “Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum” by Lucy Calkins was an inspiration for much of my work. By reading this series and making some important, heavy modifications for kindergarten, my students were able to do some fabulous writing. I very much recommend Calkins’ Units of Study; using my ideas in conjunction with hers has brought writers workshop in reach of my kindergartners.

Welcome to my third on-line unit for a Kindergarten Writers Workshop. This is a shorter unit because sometimes kindergartners need time to practice things they've learned before learning even more things.

Unit Three. In November, I suggest you, teacher, take a breather. Your students should be writing right along by now. Journals, writer’s workshop work on narratives and possibly diary work (see 9 Components of a Kindergarten Writers Workshop) is going on. Thanksgiving break is coming and there are a slew of classroom interruptions. I found that in kindergarten, the learning curve was so steep we needed much more time to work on the new stuff we were learning. We might go days without a new lesson. I would keep reiterating concepts we had already covered until it seemed most had got them. I would trade lesson time for writing time. A valuable trade I felt, as the children’s writing ability increased, their attention spans increased and we were able to write for 30 minutes at a stretch. Author’s Chair continued each day as we had completed stories to share. So here are a few lesson suggestions:

Lesson 1: At Lucy Calkins suggestion, we got out all the books from the “For Reading” basket and reread them looking for readability. Our lesson then took this tack—“What made the books you couldn’t read hard to read?”

The children came up with the most appropriate ideas. I was so pleased. No spaces, messy writing, sounds that didn’t match letters, sentences not on the same topic all came up spontaneously. The cutest response came from Jackson; when I asked, “What else makes these books hard to read?” Jackson said ruefully, “When you can’t read.” Another moment of clarity, when I realized again how hard it is for kids to open the whole literacy world and how they are going about it diligently each day.

Lesson 2: Add words to the Snap to Spell list as needed.

Lesson 3: Encourage the children to make their stories longer.

Lesson 4: Take some time to reiterate good spacing.

Lesson 5: Practice sounding out words, do this over and over.


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