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Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

I have chosen to work with three of the higher level writers in my classroom. I am in a kindergarten classroom this semester and at this stage in the writing development most of my students are at the Ready to Begin stage according to the rubrics in 6+1 Traits of Writing (Culham, 2005). I decided to choose students who were at the second stage titled Exploring. In my classroom we conduct a writing assessment at the end of every month and we explain to the students that we are not going to help them and this is a time to show us what they know about writing. I looked over all of the students assessments for the month of September and decided to work with: Trinity, Alaina, and Kaleb. These students are all strong writers and I think I will be able to help these students grow the most as writers with this writing cycle. My goals for working with this group is to have them become stronger writers, they all struggle a lot with identifying all the sounds in a word and coming up with stories (See Appendix 1). A lot of time their story will be whatever I chose to write about in Writers workshop that day. Our class did a close reading lesson about fire fighters and one of the assignments was to write What do you believe is the most important thing fire fighters do when responding to a fire in the city? Choose one example from the book. (See Appendix 2). I used a rubric to score my students writing, and I ignored the argumentative mode score because none of my students were able to complete this part. I was really focusing on my students ability to answer a question in writing and how well they could write. I took some anecdotal notes on my students while they were writing, here are my major findings: Trinity- spends a lot of time adding details to her sketch, says her words orally so she can hear the sounds and record them. Alaina- spends a lot of time adding details to her sketch, uses her sounds to write her words, I can hear her stretching the words although sometimes she identifies the wrong sound. Kaleb- He is very quick to say Im done when there

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

is very little on his paper, adds little detail to sketch, only uses sounds in words to write when supported.

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 1:Writing Assessments (September

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 2: Close Reading Writing Response

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Rubric Score: Text based response- 3 Proficient Argumentative mode- 1 Considerably below proficient Language and Conventions- 3 Proficient

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Rubric Score: Text based response- 2 Minimally below proficient Argumentative mode- 1 Considerably below proficient Language and Conventions- 1 Considerably below proficient

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Rubric Score: Text based response- 3 Proficient Argumentative mode- 1 Considerably below proficient Language and Conventions- 3 Proficient

Based on my assessments, anecdotal notes, and rubrics, I have decided to focus on the ideas trait for my writing cycle. According to our textbook In some ways, ideas is the most essential trait. Without an idea, after all, writers dont need to worry about the other traits (Culham, pg. 83). At this stage in the writing development my students need to focus on what they can write about. The majority of my students just write about whatever I wrote about in

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

writers workshop that day, and the rest of my students are writing about going to the store with their mom, or something similar to that. I want them to realize that they can write about princesses and dragons just like the authors in the books they read do. If you refer to Appendix 1 you will see that my students have a long way to go with the actual writing of the words, so I chose to focus on the ideas of their stories. The first time I met with my students (Trinity was absent) I first asked them what an idea was and they were clueless, I explained to them what ideas were and asked them to focus on their idea when writing their story. I had them think about their idea and tell it to me before they started writing, I wanted to make sure what they told me and what they wrote about matched. I then scored them using the rubric in our textbook on page 70. I think they both were between a one and a two; their ideas were good but when they started writing they changed them somewhat. I think it is hard for them to pick an idea and stick with it without reminders of what their original idea was. I want to focus on having my students choosing an idea, staying on topic with that idea, and adding only relevant details to the story. I have chosen to focus on ideas because the textbook states that it is the most essential trait and because it is what my students need the most help in. Yes, my students need a lot of help in writing the words, but there are no words to even write without an idea. I want my students to realize that with writing the possibilities are endless, just like with reading. They can create a whole other world with their writing, I want them to realize that with their ideas they can create something amazing.

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 1: Daily writers workshop

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 2: Writing with a focus on Idea

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

I have chosen to use the instructional strategies modeled and shared to work with my students, I think these strategies will be the most effective in having my students understand the ideas trait and how to use their ideas to write a story. I plan on first teaching them about the trait idea through the use of an anchor chart my collaborating teacher uses to teach about why writers write. It has all of the different reasons that writers write, which are their ideas. I plan on modeling myself writing a story with a focus on idea, I will first choose my characters and setting and then think of an idea my story could focus on. I think that my students might struggle with coming up with a story that is more than one sentence, so I will model three different ideas my characters can go through that relate to create one big story, This will show my students that

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

they can create longer stories similar to the books that authors write. I will use modeling to write the first part of my story and use shared writing to write the last parts. I will ask my students for their input on what the characters could be doing next in the story and use their ideas, as long as they are relevant, to write the rest of our story. This will allow them understand the process of writing the story better and allow them to experience the actual creating of the story. This will also allow me to explain to them how to choose relevant ideas to our story. For instance if they try to add a part of the story that would make absolutely no sense I can steer them in the direction of a part of the story that makes sense and explain to them why it is important to choose ideas that make sense. I have chosen to use the modeled writing strategy and the shared writing strategy because these two strategies will be the most effective in teaching my students how to select and idea to write about and how to add relevant details to the story. I have chosen to use the textbook for our class 6+1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide for the Primary Grades. This text provides a lot of writing samples to practice scoring and strategies to use with your students to get them to learn the trait, I used these to prepare myself in scoring my students writing. I used The Ideas Song to better help my students understand what ideas are and it is sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat which they all know (Culham, pg. 83). We will sing this song every time we meet to refresh them on what ideas are and it is a fun way to get them engaged in the lesson. The song goes like this Write, write, write your thoughts. Make your ideas clear. Tell the reader what you know and what you hold most dear (Culham, pg. 83). I also will use the section in our book titles Picture Books to Strengthen Ideas to teach my students about the ideas trait (Culham, pg. 95). According to the textbook reading to students can be one of the most effective methods to teach students about ideas. It allows students to understand what the idea of the story is and they can identify the relevant

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

details the author added. I will use the book suggested in this section titled When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry to show my students examples of ideas in picture books that they can relate to (Culham, pg. 97). The books states that events that conjure up feelings of anger and other emotions are good topics for writers of any age so this will be a good book to read to them so they understand that they can write about how they feel. I have chosen to use our class textbook as my resource for my writing cycle because I think it has the best and most effective strategies to use with my students when teaching the idea trait. Rationale In our textbook it states that picture books are a great way for our students to find interesting topics, select details, and it makes ideas more clear (Culham, 2005). I decided to use this because my students were not understanding what an idea was fully. I also wanted to use it to explain how the author only selected details that related to the idea of Sophie being angry. My students have trouble selecting relevant details in their story sometimes so I thought it would be helpful to relate it to a book. My students need help selecting ideas to write about so I modeled this through a think aloud. This allows them to see how I chose an idea. I also scaffolded them through selecting relevant details through shared writing. Objectives Students will be able to write a story with a focus on an idea and only include relevant details to the story. Standard

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

W.K.3. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

Lesson content Review Ideas poster. Read When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry Point out the emotions Sophie is feeling and how the story is only including details that have to do with Sophie being angry. After reading the book ask the students if there has ever been a time they had a really strong emotion and allow them to share. Explain that today we are going to write a story together to practice writing. Have students decide on two characters in the story, mine chose a princess and a cowgirl. Next I will model writing the first part of the story, I will make sure to model my though process. The first part of the story that I wrote is The cowgirl and the princess were finding their rare gem I then explained that we were going to write about our characters doing two more things, but they have to relate to the first part of our story. I let the students discuss what they want the next part of their story to be, scaffolding them in a direction that relates to the idea when they are going off track. My students decided to write The princess and the cowgirl lost their way. I then read the two parts of our story and asked them what could we write about to end our story that would relate to our idea?

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

My students decided that our last part of the story would be The princess and the cowgirl found their way back.

I then read the entire story to them and allowed them to draw the pictures to the stories. I then explained to them that they will get to write their own story next time.

Writing strategies Modeled- I used modeled writing to show my students my thought process of how to choose an idea for a story. Shared- I used shared writing to scaffold my students through selecting relevant details for their story. Ongoing assessment procedures Daily writing workshop conference Monthly writing assessments

I met with my students ten times this semester to work on this writing cycle. I am very impressed with how far my students have come with their understanding of ideas. Before I started working with these students they were writing about things they did in their everyday lives, they never even considered that they could write about fiction ideas. Now they are writing about things like talking horses and princesses and cowgirls. I chose to work on the idea trait and only that trait. My students are still in the beginning writing stages and therefore their writing is not perfect, but I did not pay much attention to this, only their ideas. If you look in appendix 1 you can see the story we wrote together through my use of modeled and shared writing. The next week we met my students decided on their characters for their story and they wrote their first part of their story. If you look at appendix 2 you can see their stories. You can really see the

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

growth in their ideas if you compare these writings to the writings they were doing before I started working with them.

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 1 ( Modeled and shared writing)

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Appendix 2 (Student stories)

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

I think this writing cycle went extremely well, at first I was nervous about how I could do this assignment with kindergartners who are in the very beginning stages of writing. Their writing has grown so much, but especially their ideas. They now are more conscious of only adding relevant details to their story and they are also more exploratory in what they write about. My students also know now that they can get ideas from the books they read to help them write their stories. I learned a lot about my teaching, especially with teaching writing. I think it is a lot more effective when working in small groups with students. I felt like I had so much more one on one time with them and I could really scaffold their writing process to help them be successful. I also learned that picture books can be a great way to teach ideas to students, especially when trying to

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

teach them to only add relevant details to their story. I also learned how important it is to use the gradual release model. If I would have just thrown my students into writing their own stories without scaffolding them their stories might not have been as strong. I think use writing the story together and practicing a few times before writing their finial story really helped perfect their ideas. I think my students need to be taught next the sentence fluency trait, a lot of times their sentences do not flow well or make very much sense. I think working with them on how to write sentences that flow would help them become much stronger writers. I would do this mostly through modeled, shared, and interactive writing. I would also read a lot of picture books with good fluency. This will provide them with examples of how their sentences should sound. The final product my students made for this writing cycle was a recording with puppets and a setting. I created the characters and setting for them and had them laminated and the characters glued on popsicles sticks. The students practiced their stories several times and then they moved their characters around the settings while retelling their stories. The students absolutely loved this, they were so excited to create their next story!

Megan Johnson

Writing Cycle

Step 1: Assess Student s Writing

References Culham, R. (2005). 6+1 Traits of writing: The complete guide for the primary grades. New York, NY: Scholastic, inc.