We all know that teaching kindergartners to write can be, um, “painful” at times. There is so much they need to think about and understand just to get started. Rather than list all the rules they need to learn and the skills they need to master, I’ll just repost my writing journal cover sheet.
And on top of all that, they need confidence! Confidence to get started, confidence to put down sounds they hear, confidence that we will find the good stuff in their writing and accept their attempts.
And, of course, it’s not like we need to teach just one student to write. There are 25!
Painful though it can be at times, I really do love to teach beginning writing skills. I put half an hour of writing time in my plans four days a week and then stick with it. Some days I see growth in a few students, some days I question if I even know how to teach, and some days I can clearly see that students are finally understanding how to formulate an idea, break that idea into words, break those words into sounds, and write the letters that represent the sounds they hear.
And when they start to get it, then all those painful moments and patience have paid off.
This 30-minute video shows a typical* writing lesson in my classroom during the month of November. The students have been writing “independently” for about a month now and most of them are starting to get the hang of it.
*In this video, you’ll see me working briefly with those students who need help thinking of an idea and holding that idea in their head until they start to put it down on paper. I do this for a week or two every fall until everyone is capable of this step on their own.
I teach students individually in their zone of proximal development. This means I determine a teaching point that is just right for the student I am working with and challenge them to try something in their writing that is just a tiny bit beyond their comfort zone. This keeps them steadily moving along the continuum of learning to write.
A big thank you to my classroom aide, Miss Lori, who has a thorough understanding of how to teach kindergartners to write and is always there through all the painful moments as well as the smiles when students start to get it.
For many more ideas on how to bring your students along in reading and writing, consider a paid subscription to Busy Bee Kindergarten. You can pay for just a month and see if it is worth your while. I am not aware of anyone who stopped their subscription once they started.
As always, drop any questions or comments in the comments section below.