This week during writing, the first graders took their last writing assessment. Thank you for all your help with brainstorming a character, problem, and solution with your child this week. They have done amazing with making sure to write a realistic story with lots of details!
We also took some time to pass back all of the writing assessments and celebrations from the beginning of the year and put them into a book. The first graders had so much fun looking at their writing from the very first day of school. They have grown SO much this year as writers! Look for this special keepsake in the next couple of weeks! We will spend the last weeks of school reviewing and practicing all the different kinds of writing we have learned this year.
This week in writing, we wrote a shared writing piece. We focused on all the things a good realistic fiction story should have and wrote a class story together.
After that, we spent a couple days working on our shared writing, we challenged the first graders to write their own story and to make sure the story had all the right details. They had two days to write their stories and I collected them to read on Friday. I was so impressed with how hard they worked and how creative they have been with their stories. This coming week we will wrap up our writing unit and celebrate our stories by the end of the week!
In writing this week, we spent the whole week learning different ways to add details in our writing. We learned that good writers add movement and dialogue to their to stories so that the stories come to life. Another way we can add details is to make sure we tell the small steps. This helps our reader visualize exactly what is going on in our stories.
Finally, we focused on adding feelings in our writing. We can do this by telling how our character is feeling but it makes it even more real when we show how our character is feeling by using a Show, Not Tell. Instead of saying “She was so happy”, we could say, “She was grinning from ear to ear”. Instead of “He was embarrassed”, we could write “His face turned red”. This gives the reader a much better picture in their mind as they read our stories.
This past week we wrapped up our unit on How To writing!
We picked our favorite How To teaching story to get ready to celebrate. We made sure our piece had all of the parts of a good how to story by checking our stories with partners. Then we made sure we had capital letters, finger spaces, neat handwriting, and punctuation to make our writing easy to read. Finally, we added color to our teaching pictures.
On Friday, we were ready to celebrate! We partnered up to share our writing and act out each step. We all had fun celebrating our fantastic writing!
This week in writing we continued working on our How To’s! We worked on picking out a strong topic that we know a lot about and then planning out our How To by sketching out the steps. Then, we focused on the attributes of a good introduction and conclusion.
The first graders are coming up with really cool and detailed How To’s. Next week we will work on fixing up our How To’s and celebrating them!!
We are just getting started with a new writing unit: How To! We noticed this week that How To writing teaches us how to do something.
We then practiced writing a How To as a whole class. We wrote How To wash your hands. As a class we thought of all the materials you would need and the steps in order. Before we wrote our steps, we drew a teaching picture for each step and then wrote our steps out.
We want to make sure that what we are writing about is something we know how to do before we start. We need your help! This weekend, please brainstorm with your First Grader about some topics that they know how to do. Some ideas included might include…
-How to build a snowman
-How to jump rope
-How to play with your dog
-How to take care of your pet
-How to play tic, tac, toe
-How to brush your teeth
We will create a class list of ideas on Monday! I can’t wait to hear all the good ideas!
This week, we transitioned back into writers’ workshop starting by diving into some nonfiction ALL ABOUT books. We studied books that were written to teach us new facts about one topic and then the kids tried writing one all on their own. We will continue to work on writing that teaches next week, as we move into our unit on HOW TO writing.
This week, we also introduced the first graders to a new kind of writing called CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. Good readers are able to respond to their reading by answering questions about what they’ve read. A CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE is a way of fully answering a question (RACE) and this is something they are expected to be able to do independently by third grade. We will start practicing these types of writing exercises each week.
Our first graders started this practice by playing a game called WOULD YOU RATHER? The kids listened to questions and figured out their answer, and then practiced fully responding to the question in a format that shows they understand the question (restate question – I would rather…), then, answer the question (answer – ALL parts), and give a reason for their choice (because…). We will continue to work on this throughout the school year and we will grow in our expectations of what they are adding to their CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. If you see any constructed response papers come home, have your child read through their response with you and point out those three parts (restate, answer).
Now that we’ve learned all of the parts of a persuasive letter, we challenged our first graders to be more productive during our writing time. Our goal is for every child to write a whole persuasive letter, with all the important parts.
We will be assessing and celebrating everything we’ve learned about persuasive letters next week! We will pick a final letter to edit (to be a 5 star sentence) and revise (to make sure it has all the parts of a persuasive letter). Then, we will celebrate the work that these kids have done in this unit and send off one final persuasive letter before break.
We jumped back into our Persuasive Writing Unit. We reviewed how persuasive letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.
Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.
We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.
We also talked about giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed how we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.
We will continue to send home letters throughout the next week or so, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!
I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request!
These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!