Writer’s Notebooks are a BIG addition to my language arts instruction this school year. After reading the Daily 5 I realized just how little authentic writing my students have done over the last number of years. Years back I implemented Writer’s Workshop into my instruction, but with the pressures of our testing and making students the BEST READERS, writing was probably a once a quarter kind of thing, and it was VERY decisive on my end, sadly.
NOT THIS YEAR!!! I am bound and determined to make my students writers this year! With all of my BLOG STALKING, researching, and personal enthusiasm for the writing process, I am armed and ready with what I believe to be the best strategies and practices that will enhance my students’ writing and creativity. So far-we are heading down the right path.
Yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough day-we have done a bit of brainstorming, recorded and contributed to the creations of anchor charts, but yesterday was the day when I really saw some REAL authentic thinking and writing.
I saw on a science teacher’s blog how he/she does a Photo of the Day prompt. The photo is pulled from the National Geographic website http://www.nationalgeographic.com/. Each day students list observations and inferences about the picture and record them in their science journals. I LOVED THIS IDEA and decided it was a great one to tweak!
My students HAVE to know the difference between observation and inference as readers and thinkers, so I just extended the task to also TELLING THE STORY OF THE PICTURE. I decided this would be a perfect morning starter activity on Wednesdays.
Last Wednesday was a S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. Comments like, “I don’t get this!” “What do you want us to write about?” “I don’t know what the polar bears are thinking.” Oh dear, hang in there…I decided that I may have better luck with photos from the Travel photography section.
This Wednesday was one of those teaching moments where you want to shout out the classroom window, “THEY GOT IT, LISTEN TO THIS!” While having each student read their clever stories over a megaphone! I didn’t, however, but they did do an author share at the end, and many wanted to share what they had written! WOOHOO!
I LOVE this picture! Boy did it invoke some awesome inferences and stories!
There is more work to be done with my student writers, but our interactive notebooks are headed in the right direction. While I know there will be additional creative road blocks, sometimes it just takes that one moment of success for students to realize they can do something! Today, authentic writing it was!!! Way to go 6th graders!
If you are looking for an all-in-one resource for writing CCSS, here is my latest creation…