We use a program at our school called Write From The Beginning it’s put out by the people who do Thinking Maps. Using ANYTHING in kindergarten is hard though, at least at our school, we don’t have a lot of parental involvement. We don’t have much if any outside help. Last year we had an aide, which all of the kindergarten teacher’s shared. That translated into about a half an hour per class per day. This year we don’t have the aide. Anything that involves spending time with small groups presupposes that you have something in place that the rest of the kids can do self directed and is meaningful. It’s sometimes hard to get program (literacy and math)specialists and even administrators to realize that it doesn’t happen right away at the beginning of the year. It takes time to get the kids into routines and able to function on their own for a time.
Anyway, I have been trying to get the kids to write more, but you need to monitor the writing. Almost all of the kids have a good functioning knowledge of the alphabet and letter sounds at this point in the year. My focus on writing is that they are able to hear the sounds in the words they want to write and reproduce those sounds in their writing. Correct spelling is not the primary focus at this point. Being able to communicate phonetically and illustrate it is. Today they were given a writing prompt to write something about a pet. It could be a pet they had, or one they would like to have. Getting them past that first sentence is also hard. They all want to write, “I like……” and then say, “I’m done…..” So we are working on writing more into their stories.
One girl, “I don’t have a pet, my chihuahua ran away.” I said, “So write about that.”
She wrote: “I have a chiwowowo named Koko. The chiwowowo ren a way”
This other girl, “I don’t want to write about a pet, can I write about macaroni?” “Sure you can write about macaroni.” And for her, this was a great sentence, all by herself. “I like macarone.” She has just started to sound words out and is doing a great job. She drew a picture with the chair, table, her and the macarone….
Sometimes they can’t write as fast as they think it. So you get things like this, “I like go to pet shop play and dog food”
“I love to hav a cat that can bo(do) chrixs (tricks).”
“I play wit my dog We play cach”
“My favra plit(pet) is u(a) dog”
“I luv skowul” (from the girl who has cried the last three days her mom has brought her to school) only she put a finger space (used to separate words) between each letter in skowul………