Sunday, July 8, 2012

Teaching Writing

Our district will be using the Common Core Standards for writing in the fall. I've been reading Lucy Calkins' The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing to prepare for the new school year.

First grade children come to school with a range of writing abilities. It can be a real challenge meeting the needs of children with such varying skill levels.

Lucy Calkins quotes the American poet, Lucille Clifton:
"It's important to nurture your image of what's possible. we can only create what we can imagine." 
Calkins goes on to say that it is important to remember that if children can write one sentence, then they can write two sentences. If students can write a few sentences, then they can write pages of sentences. If students write stories, then they can over time include story structure in their writing. Children can then write in a range of genres and for different purposes.

This excites me! One of my goals is to work on extending my students' writing abilities beyond what I imagined in the past.

A few points from my reading:

Writing letters should be tied to an emphasis on conveying meaning or content.

Some children who are not ready for writing sentences will benefit from labeling pictures they have drawn.

Support and scaffolding are important as children are sounding out words at first. But, it's important to release the scaffold in a way that students can continue on their own. We will need to accept approximations as they write more independently.

The writing workshop is launched with asking children to think of something important to them and then drawing a picture of it.

I plan on using this idea during the first week of school. I made some drawing/writing worksheets to go along with it. You can download them by clicking on the picture.

Graphics courtesy of Scrappin Doodles

On to reading. Enjoy your Sunday!


  1. This is adorable! I will definitely be using this. I love Lucy Calkins. I feel like I should reread this book before each year. Your post is really helpful because it reminds me of the important details. Thank you for taking the time to do this! I'll be checking back for sure:)
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

    1. Sarah,

      Thanks! It's so good to hear about another Lucy Calkins fan.

  2. Great idea. I love Lucy. I always read the "important book" the first of the year and this will go great with it.
    Thank you

    First Grade @ Storybook Cafe

    1. Tammy,

      I hadn't thought of that, but The Important Book ties in well with this activity. Thanks!

  3. Mona,

    I just found your blog through a TPT comment and LOVE it! You design is adorable and the content is meaningful:)

    Congratulations on reaching 100 followers!
    The Resourceful Apple

    1. Tammy,

      Thanks so much! I'm thrilled to have over 100 followers. Thank you for your comments. They are GREATLY appreciated!

  4. I am your newest follower. I just started Lucy Calkins last year, but I am still haven't fully integrated all aspects of it yet. Thanks for taking the time to write the post. I will be back to visit often. Thank you again!


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