Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing Samples

The marks on the pages, the "squiggles" as Merlot referred to them arranged themselves into shapes. The shapes arranged themselves into words and the words spelled out a delicious and wonderful phrase: Once upon a time. 

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

 The Key for the Writing Samples
The first line is the child's writing. Mary and I rewrite the child's sentence as the child wrote it, honoring their phonetic spelling. The author is then asked to rewrite the sentence. This is an authentic way to practice handwriting.

I have collected many quotes throughout the years that relate to children's writing. The  quote at the start of this  blog entry is from a beloved read-aloud. It conveys the magical transformation that occurs as a child's scribble evolves into words and then sentences  conveying meaning.   It is a thing of great beauty and yet the process behind one sentence written by the child is often layered and fraught with apprehension. I have another quote but unfortunately am unsure of the author....Learning to write is not brain surgery. It is harder.

The beginning weeks of school involve convincing the children that writing is "talk written down".  We agree that their writing will not be perfect and that risk is involved. We ask the children to write the letters that they hear as they stretch each word.  

What will happen if I spell it wrong?

But I don't know how to write! (said with a confused look that seems to say "but you seemed so nice and sane a few minutes ago".)

We slowly move through this anxiety, insisting that each child is a writer. Challenging them to choose the best word to depict their thoughts rather than choosing the easiest word to spell.

Meanwhile we practice stretching words. We consider that most words begin with consonants and use glue in the middle (the vowel sound). We assure them that there are schemas in our language----a method to the madness.

We suggest that they use illustration to provide additional background to their writing. These young authors receive feedback from the readers.

I notice that you are not using vowels.

Your sentence doesn't match your illustration.

I also have made a snowman.

The children begin to understand that the written word can be used to express the ideas and stories that fill their minds. Writing is a chance to be still and create but also a way to connect to others as the children share and react to each other's words.

Note to parents: I could not include all of the children's writing BUT all of the work is beautiful. Please stop by whenever you have a moment and take a peak.


I am going shopping.


Me I am counting.


Santa's reindeer

Cat going for a walk

Dinosaur is running.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Mary and Mary, insight into this amazing process of learning to write. Thank you- Kara