Write on until the 180th Day!

As the end of the year is coming closer and closer, I started to make a list of what all I wanted to accomplish in the next few weeks. I literally only have about a month with my class.

The number one on my list is writing. Hands down. I want them to leave being able to compose their thoughts, get out anything they want to say and to love writing. I have some amazing writers this year that don’t like to show their writing. They would draw pictures for days or read until I make them stop. Writing?

Not a chance.

We started a little writing challenge first thing in the morning. I wanted them to be EXCITED to write and tell me something. I wanted their little hearts to beat. I wanted them to go home and talk about what we’d written about for the day. I wanted to have conversation starters.

What did I do? I planned out three easy steps for them each morning.

Step 1
I made up some short stories. By short, I literally mean three to four sentences. There weren’t very many details to remember in each story. I wanted them to simply LISTEN. My kids this year have had such a difficult time comprehending what was read. I wanted us to take the first few minutes of each day just listening.

Here’s a view of one of our stories.

Step 2
After the story, I paused. I wanted them to take the story in. They usually looked over at me wanting to know more. After a few seconds, I showed them a picture. Some days we discussed what could happen next. Some days, I showed the picture and we just thought in our minds.

Most days, I showed the picture and popped right over to the question. The first few days, I immediately wanted to know what they were thinking. I went around the room and listened to their responses.

Step 3
It was their “job” to tell me on paper their answer. Some of the questions asked what they would do or what they thought happened next. This was GREAT for their listening comprehension skills. Most of them were stuck writing I for everything. If a question asked what they thought a character was going to do next, they would respond with “I would.” This was great in my opinion. It gave me time to discuss the fact that they are not and never was in that story.

These stories, images and questions also made them think. There wasn’t an answer in the “story” to refer back to as there usually is. As they wrote, I liked to ask them to tell me why in their writing. One of my kiddos started writing WHY in his responses. It was hilarious.

Here’s a few of my favorites…

This was in response to what would you do if you were deep sea fishing and a shark popped out of the water.
“I would be scared. Because it might bite you. Because sharks are dangerous.”

“I would go put my fishing pole up.”

“Yes, I will be scared because it had shark teeth.”

I’ve made twenty of what I so perfectly call Listen. Draw. Respond. I included different recording sheets for my students because they are ALL so different. I have those they just like to write now and will continue writing on the back. There are those that are all about a picture and then, I have some that don’t like the checklist anymore.

Each story correlates to a picture. In essence, there is three parts to each: story, picture, and question. I did not start this in the order that they were made. We picked and chose (well I picked) and they responded. Over the summer, I’m going to print these off 4/page and back/front (the stories and questions) and print the photos off either full page or 2/page. These will be perfect for days when I have a substitute and my computer is not at school for the sub.

Here’s a look at the response sheets.

My kids have gotten so much better at comprehending what was read or what they have read. I always tell them that their writing has to match a story or picture AND make sense. We share a few of these everyday and they’ve gotten a better sense of responses that flow.

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