If you are using Lucy Calkins in the kindergarten classrooms, you will appreciate these ideas:
The class wrote about the same experience: http://debrennersmith.blogspot.com/2008/12/writing-about-class-experience.html
Writing Narrative / Small Moments Writing: http://firstgradecce.wikispaces.com/Writing+-+Narrative
I Love My Hair http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=934
This is a heartwarming collection of small moments that all take place in a family’s kitchen: a daughter receives a music scholarship, children make up stories, women chitchat and a father makes his signature dish.
Mr. George Baker Summary: First grader Harry and Mr. George Baker, an African-American jazz drummer, share a special bond revealed through Harry’s descriptive, first-person observations. The biggest connection the two share is that they’re both learning to read.
This is a slow-paced story that easily lends itself to teaching small moments. Though you could also read this book aloud with a social issues lens, the author spends most of the story describing the moments just before going to school. It would be a good mentor text for paying attention to how authors incorporate sound into their writing.
This is a link to a great write up about one of Lucy’s units of study: fiction. I am always searching for references to Lucy’s units since many of the teachers I work with use the units as a resource.
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Many schools are using Lucy Calkins’ materials and Units of Study. One of her units includes an essay unit. Jim Trelease has a site that includes a weekly essay. It is awesome! http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/essay-of-week.html
I am always looking for resources. This is another site of wonderful resources for us.
Small Moments stories only improves if students know how to tell a story. Lucy Calkins refers to this as storytelling. The staff at the Teachers College that work with Lucy Calkins recommends the following 5 steps for teaching children to storytell as a week long event.
1. The teacher models storytelling an event the class experienced together with rich story language across 5 fingers. The teacher tells the story multiple times. The students and the teacher tells the story numerous times. It is important for multiple retellings. This is an oral retelling of the story again today.
2. The class gathers to retell the same story with a storytelling partner. Teacher coaches students to remember characters names, say what the character said, etc. The teacher might retell before (or after) the students depending on how much support the students need. It is important that the students have multiple chances for retelling. This is an oral retelling of the story again today.
3. The students sit in a circle and retell the same story as a class. “Today we are all going to share the _____________________ (one story with one event) as one storyteller.” The children tell the story on their 5 fingers using repetition and rehearsal.
4. While children tell the story, teacher sketches the pictures across pages. It is important that the children are retelling the story across their 5 fingers. It is also important that the children are verbalizing the story. Repetition and rehearsal is leading to most if not all children repeating the story at some level.
5. The teacher writes the words on the last day to the story in front of the students (demonstration).
This procedure is repeated throughout the year to teach storytelling language. The same story is used for the week. It is an experience that all the children have shared. The teacher might guide the writing about a moment on the playground, singing a song, spilling pencils, a silly moment that the class experienced, or something else that has a beginning, middle and end within the moment.
My mom and a few of her closest friends, painted the nativity many years ago. The grandchildren and my parents set out the nativity each year on Thanksgiving. I could write about this tradition of setting up the nativity. My dad gets the boxes out of the attic. The little ones are under his feet ‘helping.’
As a new member joins the family they receive a stocking that stays at my parents’ house. My parents have 4 children who now have married. We also have stockings at our own houses for our children. I cross-stitched stockings for my 4 ‘Smith’ family members at our house. I could write about this. The grandchildren write notes to the Santa sometimes. We put candy in the stockings sometimes. We don’t really have one tradition of what is done with stockings at my parents.
I could write about decorating the tree on Thanksgiving at my parents. The grandchildren help Grandpa decorate the tree. The bottom half that they can reach is well decorated. I remember the year the tree fell over!
Writing about an object is an effective writing lesson. I wrote objects in June. http://writingeverydayworks.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/connections-to-special-object-hats/ I find there are so many objects related to the Christmas holidays that students could write about: stockings, christmas trees, dinner, etc.
It is not that Christmas objects is so important, it is just that kids are so excited about Christmas, so how can I help connect what they are excited to to real writing?
What is helpful to my students is getting to the WHY and HOW. Why is the object important and special? Why are you remembering the object?
If you have students who don’t celebrate Christmas or if you are not allowed to discuss Christmas see my link for ideas. Also, you could discuss FOOD items (objects). I remember making cookies, cupcakes, special pies with family members for holidays.
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