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.
KindeR-Revision What should revision entail when done by five-year-olds?
This unit was created by Jodie Black, who uses it during December 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 the fourth on-line unit for my Kindergarten Writers Workshop. When you are just learning to write, you are so proud of your own efforts. When you lose interest fast and yet have a million good ideas, revision seems like a peculiar punishment your teacher has devised to keep you down. What should revision look like in kindergarten? This unit is about what I think:
Unit Four. These lessons should be taught in December, after you have completed the first three units Jodie has posted.
Lesson 1: Let the children know they can quit. If their story is not going anywhere or they don’t like it anymore, throw it away. Starting over is the most useful revision technique for kindergartners.
Lesson 2: Using the “Small Moments Writing Page” (from Unit 2) works perfectly for revision in kindergarten. Show the children how to throw away only one page that is messed up, or doesn’t work, and then insert a new page instead.
Lesson 3: Show the children how to insert a page to add new information or details or to clear up confusion.
Lesson 4: I realized that the boys in particular wanted to write something bigger—not longer—just bigger. So I made “Bigger Writing Paper.” As part of this revision unit I made “Revision Band-Aids.” I taught the children to use the Band-Aids to cover over something they wanted to get rid of, or to add something to the interior of a piece. Again, there was a period of just silly misuse of a cool new tool, but eventually some were able to use this effectively. These papers and Band-Aids were in the pockets of our Paper Buffet. What I found over time, as more and more options were introduced, was that students gravitated toward the format that fit their writing personality.
Lesson 5: Help the children to make note of how their writing partner might help them to revise. But what I noticed over and over is when students were reading aloud to their partners, it was then that the author could hear that he had left out words or had a sentence that didn’t make sense. By the way, at no time did I have children copy over entire stories for publishing. I didn’t feel it appropriate to slow their momentum in this way and Author’s Chair provided the venue for the encouragement of readability.
Lesson 6: Finally, I presented a couple of good mini lessons on using periods. After each one, I felt the correct use of periods declined. I determined not to beat myself up over it and I inserted needed periods during conferences always with a gentle explanation of why a period was needed there.