This is a continuation of our book study “The Daily Five” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. We are continuing with Chapter Six, “Work on Writing and Word Work”.
Work on Writing:
When you are doing the “Work on Writing” segment in your day the students
should be working independently or with a partner. Some of the ideas that I use in my classroom are persuasive writings. An example of that would be to persuade me if I should be a “Country Mouse or a City Mouse”. We start with reading the book and the students have to do a writing piece to persuade me to be either one or why I should be one or the other. We also have “book buddies” every Friday and they come in and read to each other the stories they have written and their book buddies are allowed to help them with their writing. They also work on a drawing together to finish their writing pieces. During special times of the year we make and create cards for our Book Buddies. Writing in my classroom is so many things it is difficult to capture in one single post.
You always begin your “Work on Writing” by bringing a purpose to it and talk about why it is so important to write every day. If you are a “whole brain” teacher this is a great time to insert “teach, ok” while you are discussing. I have a “share chair” in my room, which is where each student can share their ideas about why it is important to write every day. Our “share chair” is also a time where you can “take the mic” and use it to read a finished piece. (I have a voice enhancement system in my room with a microphone) I always let them make a choice whether or not they want to share or not. We want our children to care about why they are writing and people who are reading it.
Focus Lessons are important because this is a time when modeled writing is shown to the class on things to do if you get stuck on a word. These simple steps are critical in enabling our students to be independent writers. We need to model to our students what to do if they get stuck on a word by underlining it and coming back later and that it is okay to do so. Talk with your students about what “Working on Writing” looks like since this is already a part of some of the other Daily 5 elements. Make an anchor chart with their ideas on it and hang it up in the room so that they have a visual reminder. In the other components of Read to Someone and Read to Self they have already built up enough stamina that a three minute writing time is not that so difficult.
I don’t know about you but I think this is one of my most favorite parts of the Daily 5 because it can be so much fun and highly interactive with peers and materials. If we are going to create readers and writers then word work is a critical element in the Daily 5 time. This time allows students to experiment with words, work on those high frequency words, implement spelling patterns and working on those “break the rules” words. This is a time to focus on spelling and vocabulary as well as writing. You are going to want to launch Word Work as a time to go over what it looks like, what is done during this time and talk about stamina. What can I do during Word Work time with my students? What are some activities that I can do to keep it interesting and not run out of ideas?
In my classroom we have an ongoing list of ideas to do during Word Work and they can go and pull an idea off of the chart. What you will find out as students adapt and build stamina during Word Work is they can come up with some really good ideas of Word Work ideas of their own. When they do make sure it goes on the chart of ideas to make them feel very important. Oh, this is also a great time to have parent volunteers in from the beginning so that they learn what Word Work is and become really good at assisting you by the end of the year. It also teaches them how to teach their own children. Unfortunately the most important things in our lives, our children, don’t come with a manual.
All around the list of Word Work ideas we take pictures so that students remember what it looks like and it is an excellent tool for your visual learners or struggling readers. I am in a Title I school so this is something that all of our teachers have to work on every year. I always tell my students “practice makes better, not perfect”. Practice is a key word here in teaching your students and modeling with other students (which they love being a teacher helper) how to do a particular activity. Word Work for about three to five minutes and gather back together to make any additions to our chart that we need to make.
Before I forget, some things that you will find really important to have on your anchor chart are: clean quietly, if you touched the materials you help clean them, find the picture of the materials so you know where they go back in their place and other ideas that will make your closing time easier.