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The information presented on MeaningMatters is copyright protected.
Kim Turgeon and Lauren Mitsis, copyright, 2011. All rights reserved.
|Posted by meaningmatters on April 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM||comments (1)|
3 Reasons Beyond the Common Core to Have Young Children Write Non-Fiction
The Common Core has placed a strong emphasis on the use of non-fiction in the classroom. Now learners of all ages need to become acquainted with the structures and features of informational texts, both as readers and as writers. More recently I have made an extended effort to explore non-fiction writing with my kindergarten children. I see many reasons, beyond the Common Core, that I should have been doing more of this all along.
3 Reasons to Have Young Children Write Non-fiction
It is funny to think back to a time when my class would generate questions about the chicks that we were hatching, and after school in a quiet classroom I would explore the questions, seek answers and generate charts or notes to help explain the information. Why did I do this alone? Isn’t this a clear example of why and how to read and write non-fiction? Non-fiction topics appeal to young children’s natural sense of wonder. Now I go through this process WITH my class.
As teachers of young children we can capitalize upon these opportunities to foster meaningful writing opportunities.
|Posted by meaningmatters on April 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
Meaning Matters Storytelling With Dictation is an innovative classroom practiced designed to bridge the gap between students' oral language abilities and their independent writing. It is based on the understanding that in order to be a proficient writer, a child must have solid oral language skills. Factors such as fine motor development and phonics knowledge limit young children’s writing, yet their oral language skills are far more advanced. Meaning Matters Storytelling with Dictation is a cutting edge practice that will dramatically improve students' literacy skills specific to writing, vocabulary, oral language, and comprehension. To achieve the significant growth as identified by our overwhelmingly positive research, educators must be trained by Meaning Matters. We look forward to working with you to implement a training that will improve instructional practice and student learning.
Please contact us for further information.
Kim and Lauren
*The information presented on MeaningMatters is copyright protected.
Kim Turgeon and Lauren Mitsis, copyright, 2011. All rights reserved.
|Posted by meaningmatters on April 7, 2013 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
Writing: Moving Beyond Capitals And End Marks
Written by Kim Turgeon
What makes a fabulous beginning writer? What skills do we hope to see our youngest writers transfer into their own writing?
Beginning last year I decided to dedicate a scheduled time specifically for oral language development in my classroom. I hoped that by devoting time to language development that was separate from writing workshop, I would see the benefits pay off in children’s independent writing. As I have written about before in previous posts, story journal time in my classroom has brought out amazing voices in the children in my class. Now at this point in the year I am celebrating because the amazing craft that I was hearing through their voices during story journals is transferring into their Independent writing!
What is striking to me is that in March of Kindergarten I used to be thrilled to have a child’s writing exhibit characteristics such as: approximated writing, some accurately spelt sight words, details in pictures and a sequence of events about a single topic. The writing that I am getting from children this year is exhibiting advanced characteristics such as: dialogue, voice, transitional phrases and a final portion of the story that conveys a sense of ending. What I am seeing in the children’s writing is that it is not just the mechanics of writing that has developed, but so has their craft of writing. Now that children have the phonetic understandings and fine motor skills needed to produce writing, they are able to write with the same voice and structure that they have been practicing orally. Whereas once I worked on specifically developing children’s writing skills and I modeled the craft through mentor texts, now as children deal with mechanical issues they are continuing to develop their oral language. As with anything, children need time to practice, and until this year I have been providing models for the craft of writing but not letting them practice this until they were able to independently produce it in their writing.
I used to get writing that looked like this in March:
(Samples from 2009)
1.I go to the fire station. We had fun.
2. I am throwing a football. I went to school.
3. I saw my teacher. She is nice. We play in the block area.
Now I get independant writing that look like this:
(Samples from March 2012)
1. This is me fighting over the chair. It was the best chair. We get angrier and angrier. It is the closest chair away from the sticky baby food. But then mom told us that no one could sit in the chair. “Now both of you will go to the other table. What do you need to do?” We both apologized.
2. My 5th Birthday and Yellow Brick On my 5th Birthday I rode on a pony named Yellow Brick. The girl who was in charge of Yellow Brick let me get her ready, then I led Yellow Brick to the gate. We saw the door and then we opened the door. There was cans in a circle. I said, “this way Yellow Brick, that way Yellow Brick.” Yellow Brick went this way and that way. Then I said, “Trot on.” Yellow Brick trotted on. And that is the story of Yellow Brick and me.
3. My first day of Speaking English I was one time very scared to go to school, on my first day, but the next day I wasn’t scared I was so so much happy that my dad had to rush me in. I was dancing on the world.
(Yes, all 3 of these stories were independantly written by Kindergarten children! )
But Don’t Children Tell Stories at Home?
As I sit around the dinner table with my own family and listen to the countless stories being told, I often think that less and less of this is happening for children today. Families are busy and it is challenging for everyone to take the time to sit and talk. The opportunities for language development and story telling are lessening as media and technology play a larger part in our days. In his book, Talk with Your Child, Harvey Wiener reports on a U.S. Department of Education study that indicates that American mothers spend less than 30 minutes a day talking with their children; fathers spend even less. After a 10 year study on Language Development, Gordon Wells concluded that there are many ways parents foster their children's development, but that "of all the activities that were characteristic of homes that foster literacy, it was the sharing of stories that we found to be most important.”
This year, through the use of Story Journals, children in my classroom have practiced orally telling well-developed stories. Now, in March, because the children have developed control of the transcribing process they are transfering this craft into their writing.
For more information on using Story Journals in your classroom please visit our Workshops site.