Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Launching Writers' Workshop with FIRST GRADE GROWING WRITERS

Launching Our

First Grade

Writers’ Workshop

We write to hold our lives in our hands and to make something of them.                                                                                                  Lucy Calkins, 1994
The writing workshop does not place the teacher under the bright lights on center stage.  Rather, the teacher sets up the structure, allows students plenty of choice, and gets [students] writing.  You work off the energy students create.                                                                                                                                                                   Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi, 2001

First grade is full of firsts.  First visits from the Tooth Fairy.  First time to eat the hot lunch at school.    First ride on a bike - without training wheels.  First time to read a “chapter book.”  Living and learning with first graders, it’s easy to be inspired by their enthusiasm and exhilarating to witness all the blossoming of their newly acquired skills.

Launching Writers’ Workshop with first grade writers is anchored in a few key intentions: helping them to see themselves as writers; setting students up to feel early success as writers; gaining greater clarity about what writers do and create; and learning the rituals and routines which make Writers’ Workshop manageable, predictable, compelling, and edifying.  For the first few days or weeks, a great deal of a first grade teacher’s energy will be given to this last goal.  As Lucy Calkins (2001) says in Launching Reading and Writing Workshops, “It is important to maintain a simple, predictable structure because it is the work students do that will be changing and complex” (page 66).

The predictability of the routines we establish in these first weeks of schools help first graders increasingly engage in their writing independently.  They also become the foundations for building a caring learning community with one another.  Taking the time we need to collaboratively create a vibrant and productive Writers’ Workshop is paramount as we open a new school year with new first grade writers.  Thus, each teacher’s time line for rolling out these launching lessons may be a bit different in response to students’ specific dispositions to work independently and interdependently.

Soon, more of our actions in this unit of study will be focused on helping students generate ideas and topics for writing and, specifically for this unit of study, small moments. Taking a memory and working to “really see it in your mind” and “share it with your readers by recording it on paper” are two chief goals in modeling, practicing, and nudging students to write their own small moment pieces. 
I hope the following opening unit ideas offer you a portrait of possibilities while highlighting key considerations such as expected enduring understandings and what to look for in students’ budding writing. 

In the weeks before you begin this first unit of study, draw from your own writing well.  Think about what you do as a writer.  Why do you write?  When do you write?  Begin to record your insights.  What you write down will give you brilliant ways to model, name, and explain writing for and with your students.  Your first lessons with your first graders will be edifying to all your students because they come authentically from your writing.



Launching Writers’ Workshop Studies

 Mentor texts to support students’ learning about what writers do/living a writerly life:

·        Allen, Susan.  Written Anything Good Lately?

·        Bunting, Eve.  Once Upon a Time.

·        Christelow, Eileen.  What Do Authors Do?

·        Cronin, Doreen.  Diary of a Worm

·        Cronin, Doreen.  Diary of a Spider

·        Cronin, Doreen.  Click Clack Moo:  Cows That Type

·        Duke, Kate.  Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One.

·        Kehoe, Michael.  A Book Takes Root:  The Making of a Picture Book.

·        Lionni, Leo.  Frederick

·        Rylant, Cynthia.  Best Wishes.

·        Stevens, Janet.  From Pictures to Words:  A Book About Making A Book.

·        Williams, Vera.  Cherries and Cherry Pits (See dedication for a minilessons focus)

·        Wong, Janet. You Have to Write. 

·        Yolen, Jane.  A Letter From Phoenix Farm.

·        Zemach, Kaethe.   The Character In The Book.

Mentor texts to expand students’ learning about what authors do:

·        Authors Write Lists

Amelia Bedelia and the Christmas List by P. Parish

The Boys Book of Lists by D. Langston

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

Marti and the Mango by D. Morton

Nate the Great and the Lost List by M. Sharmat

Oliver's Must Do List by Susan Taylor Brown

Peter Claus and the Naughty List by Lawrence David

Very Silly Lists by Tony Bradman

Wallace's Lists by Barbara Bottner

·        Authors Write Letters Text Set

Dear Daddy… by Philippe Dupasquier

Dear Mr. Blueberry by S. Jakes

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by M. Teague

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by D. Cronin

The Jolly Postman: or Other People's Letters by J. Ahlberg

A Letter to Amy by E. Jack Keats

No Mail for Mitchell by C. Siracusa

Where Does A Letter Go?  by Carla Greene

·        Authors Write about Themselves

Eric Carle

Roald Dahl

Tomie dePaola

Patricia Polacco

Cynthia Rylant

Mentor texts to support students’ learning about what writers make:

·        Aliki.     The Book.

·        Gerstein, Mordicai.  A Book.

Mentor texts to support students’ learning about where writers get ideas for their writing/how writers choose topics:

·        Beach and Farm both by Elisha Cooper

o   Sometimes writers write about a special place they love.

·        Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera Williams

o   Some writers learn about telling stories from their parents/families (See dedication of this book.).

·        Dig, Dig, Digging, by Margaret Mayo, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe.

o   Sometimes people write about something they know a lot about.

·        Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

o   Sometimes people write to make other people laugh.

·        “Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate, by Bob Graham.

o   Sometimes people write about something that happened to them.

·        Leonardo, by Mo Willems

o   Sometimes people write about how they’re feeling.

·        Listening Walk by Paul Showers 

o   Sometimes writers observe nature or their lives to get ideas for their writing.

·        My Big Brother by Valorie Fisher

·        Sometimes people write about something or someone they love, like someone in their family.

·        My Dog Rosie Barry Moses and Isabella Harper                                                  

o   Sometimes writers write about a great passion like a favorite pet. Sometimes writers work together as a team to write books/texts. Mordicai Gerstein (Author)

·        Night at the Fair, by Donald Crews

o   Sometimes people write about something they did and they want to remember.

·        Roller Coaster, by Marla Frazee.

o   Sometimes people write about something they love to do.

·        Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubble, illustrated by Megan Halsey. 

o   Sometimes people write about something they really like/just love.

·        Walk On! A Guide for All Babies, by Marla Frazee

o   Sometimes people write to help other people with something.

Mentor texts to support students’ family memory writing:

·        Big Mama’s by Donald Crews

·        Birthday Presents by Cynthia Rylant

·        Carl’s Scrapbook by Alexandra Day

·        Chicken Feet in My Soup by Tomie dePaola

·        Listen Buddy by Helen Lester

·        Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola

·        Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

·        Pancakes For Breakfast by Tomie dePaola

·        The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

·        Tom by Tomie dePaola

·        Up North at the Cabin

·        A Weekend with Wendell by Kevin Henkes

Mentor texts to support students’ friendship memories writing:

·        Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

·        George and Martha by James Marshall

·        Owen and Mzee:  The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu

Mentor text to support students’ school memories writing:

·        The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

·        First Day Jitters by Julie Dannenberg

·        Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

·        Last Day Blues by Julie Dannenberg

·        Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

·        Morris Goes to School by B. Wiseman

·        No School Today! by Franz Brandenberg

·        Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola

·        The Puppy Who Went to School by Lillian Hoban

·        Score One for the Sloths by Helen Lester

·        Wolf by Bloom

Potential Author Studies and Authors We Want First Graders to Know as Writers and Readers (throughout the year):

·        Janet Ahlberg

·        Martha Alexander

·        Mitsumasa Anno

·        Frank Asch

·        Molly Bang

·        Bryon Barton

·        John Birmingham

·        Suzanne Bloom

·        Anthony Brown

·        Norman Bridwell

·        Marc Brown

·        Margaret Wise Brown

·        Eric Carle

·        Nancy White Carlstrom

·        Judith Caseley

·        Eileen Christelow

·        Elisha Cooper

·        Lucy Cousins

·        Joy Cowley

·        Donald Crews

·        Tomie de Paola

·        Lois Ehlert

·        Amy Ehrlich

·        Mem Fox

·        Marla Frazee

·        Gail Gibbons

·        Heidi Goennel

·        Diane Goode

·        Emily  Gravett

·        Eric Hill

·        Lillian Hoban

·        Russell Hoban

·        Tana Hoban

·        Mary Ann Hoberman

·        Sid Hoff

·        Shirley Hughes

·        Pat Hutchins

·        Rachel Isodora

·        Steve Jenkins

·        Ann Jonas

·        Ezra Jack Keats

·        Holly Keller

·        Leah Komaiko

·        Robert Kraus

·        Helen Lester

·        Leo Lionni

·        Anita Lobel

·        Arnold Lobel

·        Jonathan London

·        James Marshall

·        Bill Martin

·        Mercer Mayer

·        Nikki McClure

·        Emily Arnold McCully

·        Susan Meddaugh

·        Elise Minarik

·        Bernard Most

·        Robert Munsch

·        Laura Numeroff

·        Jan Ormerod

·        Helen Oxenbury

·        Peggy Parish

·        Dav Pilkey

·        Patricia Polacco

·        Charlotte Pomerantz

·        Peter Reynolds

·        Anne Rockwell

·        Marisabina Russo

·        Cynthia Rylant

·        Maurice Sendak

·        William Steig

·        David Ezra Stein

·        Lauren Stringer

·        Dr. Suess

·        Nancy Tafuri

·        Jeanne Titherington

·        Judith Viorst

·        Bernard Waber

·        Rosemary Wells

·        Brian Wildsmith

·        Vera B. Williams

·        Mo Willems

·        Audrey and Don Wood

·        Charlotte Zolotow

Supportive Internet Resources:
Boy Reader - Me, a writer?

Carol Wilcox (A remarkable writer and passionate reader, Carol shares her recent “best reads” in this delightful blog.  Wonderful source for mentor text ideas.)

Choice Literacy

Columbia University Teachers College

Father Goose (great source for delightful read alouds)

International Reading Association

Kids Read

Mark Overmeyer

National Council of Teachers of English/NCTE

National Writing Project

Planet Esme

(mentor text podcast)

Read Write Think    

Reading Rockets

Ruth Ayers

Six Traits                

Six Traits and standards connections as well as anchor paper links and rubric banks:  [The referenced standards are the U.S. Common Core State Standards/CCSS but the parallels could be helpful in making connections to the Ontario ELA Standards.]

Two Writing Teachers

Write Brained Teacher

Writing Fix
Professional Resources:

·        Anderson, Carl.  (2005). Assessing Writers.  Heinemann.

·        Anderson, Carl.  (2000).  How’s It Going? A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers.  Heinemann.

·        Anderson, Carl.  (2009).  Strategic Writing Conferences: Smart Conversations That Move Young Writers Forward (text and DVD’s). Heinemann. 

·        Angelillo, Janet.  (2008).  Whole-Class Teaching:  Minilessons and More.  Heinemann.

·        Atwell, Nancie. (2007).  Lessons That Change Writers (Text and DVD’s). Heinemann.

·        Ayers, Ruth and Schbitz, Stacey. (2010).  Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice.  Stenhouse.

·        Bennett-Armistead, Susan, Duke, Nell, and Moses, Annie.  (2005).  Literacy and the Youngest Learner. 

·        Bhattacharyya, Ranu.  (2010).  The Castle in the Classroom. (Kindergarten teacher-author but many of her considerations could be helpful to new first grade writers.)

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (1994).  The Art of Teaching Writing

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (2005).  Big Lessons for Small Writers, Grades K – 2 (DVD).  Heinemann.

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (2003).  The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing.

·        Calkins, Lucy and Mermelstein, Leah.  (2003).  Launching the Writing Workshop (from Units of Study for Primary Writing: Grades K-2). Heinemann.

·        Calkins, Lucy and Oxenhorn, Abby.  (2005).  Small Moments:  Personal Narrative Writing.  Heinemann.

·        Corgill, Ann Marie.  (2008). Of Primary Importance:  What’s Essential in Teaching Young Writers.

·        Cruz, Colleen M.  (2004).  Independent Writing:  One Teacher – Thirty-Two Needs, Topics and Plans. Heinemann.

·        Cruz, Colleen M. (2008).  A Quick Guide to Reaching Struggling Writers.  Heinemann.

·        Culham, Ruth.  [multiple Six Traits of Writing titles]

·        Dorfman, Lynne. (2006).   Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing through Children's Literature, K-6.  Stenhouse.

·        Fisher, Douglas and Frey, Nancy.  (2007). Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching With a Gradual-Release Framework.  Scholastic. 

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2006).  Boy Writers:  Reclaiming Their Voices.  Stenhouse.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2000).  How Writers Work:  Finding a Process That Works for You.  Harper Collins.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2011). Mentor Author, Mentor Texts: Short Texts, Craft Notes, and Practical Classroom Uses.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2010). Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing.  Stenhouse. 

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (1992).  What a Writer Needs.  Heinemann.

·        Fletcher, Ralph and Portalupi, JoAnn.  (2007).  Craft Lessons.  Teaching Writing K – 8.  Stenhouse.

·        Fletcher, Ralph and Portalupi, JoAnn.  (2001).  Writing Workshop:  The Essential Guide.  Stenhouse.

·        Freeman, Marcia.  (2003).  Teaching the Youngest Writers. 

·        Glover, Matt.  (2009).  Engaging Young Writers: Preschool-Grade One.  Heinemann. 

·        Graves, Donald.  *All titles offer infinite learning-teaching possibilities and they are all deeply good for the soul.

·        Harwayne, Shelley. (2000).  Lifetime Guarantees:  Toward Ambitious Literacy Teaching.  Heinemann.

·        Harwayne, Shelley.  (2001).  Writing through Childhood.  Heinemann. 

·        Heard, Georgia and McDonough, Jen.  A Place for Wonder:  Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades.  Heinemann.

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell and Ekey, Carrie. (2010). The Next Step Guide To Enhancing Writing Instruction:  Rubrics and Resources for Self-Evaluation and Goal Setting.  Heinemann.

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell and Ekey, Carrie.  (2010).  The Next Step Guide to Enriching Classroom Environments.  Heinemann.

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell.  Supporting Your Child’s Literacy Learning:  A Guide for Parents.  Heinemann.

·        Horn, Martha and Giacobbe, Mary Ellen.  (2007).  Drawing, Talking, and Writing:  Lessons for Our Youngest Writers.  Stenhouse.

·        Laminack, Lester and Wadsworth, Reba.  (2006). Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature. Heinemann.

·        Laminack, Lester and Wadsworth, Reba. (2006). Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum. Heinemann.

·        Lane, Barry.  (2008).  But How Do You Teach Writing? A Simple Guide for All Teachers. Scholastic. 

·        Murray, Donald.  Read to Write.

·        National Writing Project & Nagin, Carl.  Because Writing Matters:  Improving Student Writing in Our Schools.

·        Overmeyer, Mark.  (2005). When Writing Workshop Isn't Working: Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5.  Stenhouse.

·        Overmeyer, Mark. (2009). What Student Writing Teaches Us: Formative Assessment in the Writing Workshop.  Stenhouse.

·        Parsons, Stephanie.  (2005). First Grade Writers. Heinemann.

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (2008).  Already Ready:  Nurturing Writing in Preschool and Kindergarten.  Heinemann.

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (2010).  In Pictures and Words:  Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study.  Heinemann. 

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (2006). Study Driven A Framework of Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop. Heinemann, 2006.

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (2005). The Teaching Behind About the Authors (DVD). Heinemann.

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (1999). Wondrous Words. National Council of Teachers of English.

·        Ray, Katie Wood and Cleaveland, Lisa.  (2004). About the Authors.  Heinemann. 

·        Ray, Katie Wood with Laminack, Lester.  (2001). The Writing Workshop:  Working through the Hard Parts (and They’re All Hard Parts).  National Council of Teachers of English.

·        Routman, Regie.  (2000).  Conversations.

·        Routman, Regie (2004). Writing Essentials. Heinemann.

·        Smith, Mary Ann and Juska, June.  The Whole Story:  Teachers Talks about Portfolios (National Writing Project).

·        Spandel, Vicki.  (2003).  Creating Young Writers: Using the Six Traits to Enrich Writing Process in Primary Classrooms.  Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

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