Your first grader will participate in Writing Workshop approximately four days a week. We begin with a whole class minilesson on the rug, which will introduce the skills and strategies good writers use. The children then move to their desks to engage in independent writing. It is their job to work on using the skills or strategies used in the minilesson. At this time, the teachers conference individually with students to provide guidance and encouragement. Next the students may be asked to talk with a partner about their writing. Finally, the children meet back on the rug with the teacher to review the lesson and point out good work that the children accomplished during this Writing Workshop session.
Throughout the year the children will work in a variety of units to answer the following Essential Questions :
1. Why do I write?
2. Am I an author?
3. What can I do to make my writing more readable?
4. How can my own experiences help me to become an eager and confident writer?
5. What strategies can I use to spell words?
You can help your first grader become an accomplished writer by pointing out ways in which adults use writing at home or at work. Encourage your child to write notes to family members, take messages, or write a grocery list as you dictate. Since first graders write best about what they know, point out events in your child’s life that might make a good Writing Workshop piece, such as getting a new pet or that great family vacation that you took. Special moments full of feeling also make for great writing. How did your child feel when he/she first learned to ride a bike or when that first tooth came out? In class, we will often talk through our stories before we write them. You can do the same at home!
Many parents ask how much correcting of spelling and grammar they should require of their child when they write at home. When a child is writing, it is most important to compliment something wonderful they have done, such as spelling someone’s name just right or used a descriptive word. Next, suggest to your child just one thing they might change. “I noticed that you used a period at the end of this sentence. Is their another sentence here that needs a period?” Helping your child to see or hear chunks and Word Wall words that they have learned is important too!