Last week I started Writer’s Workshop with my grade 1 and 2 students. Before they begin writing, I like them to analyse the structure of the stories that they read. We begin with a read aloud and then, as a class, we discuss the beginning, middle, and end of a story.
The next step in my lesson is for them to work in pairs. The story that I give them to work on is a simple one in the which structure can be easily determined. Working in pairs means that they can discuss their options – and it also gives them the confidence to do the task.
Tomorrow I will encourage them to work solo to figure out the three parts of the story I will give them. Some children may make errors but it is a first step – they can only improve from there. I do not look for perfection but for the sense that they kind of understand the concept. After all, they are emerging readers.
In order to encourage creative writing in my class of grade 1s and 2s in a French Immersion school, I use the strategies described by Lucy Calkins to implement a Writer’s Workshop. The children are always working on a story. and can wrote at their own pace. Currently storyboard templates are available so they can choose to create a graphic story. My grade 2 boys love this activity and, once they have completed all other set tasks, can be seen working on their writing dossier.
I love that they are so engaged in creating – even those who are not too keen on writing. I hear them correcting one another and sharing their stories. They come to me and ask me how to express something in French – and then attempt to record the sentence (in writer’s workshop correct spelling is not the important focus – writing down the idea is). I cannot help but smile at their enthusiasm and look forward to reading their creations.