Kid Writing Book Club

Welcome to the Kid Writing Book Club!

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Dec. 2/08 ~ Leslie
The most interesting part of chapter 1 for me was the section about the author's Philosophy of Journal Writing. This is my first year teaching grade one and two and my second year teaching all together so I am still getting a handle on what to expect from kids at various levels. It is very helpful for me to hear others talk about how they get the work they do from their kids and how to create an environment that the students will grow in.

Another thing I struggle with is how to help students with spelling and something I gained from our meeting tonight was a strategy for this. It is so easy to just tell the child how to spell the word, but in the long run this is not easier...they will keep asking! And this does not help the child. So, next time someone asks me how to spell something I will ask them to say the word slowly and tell me the sounds they hear. Then I will ask them to write those sounds down. In "Kid Writing" they also mention the importance of comparing their spelling to accurate spelling. Although I am still not quite sure what to do with the handful of kids who stare blankly at me when I ask them what sounds they hear. Then they look around at the ceiling for an answer! Yikes!

Dec.8/08 Audra Hildebrand

In response to Leslie - I help those children that stare blankly at me with prompts like, "Say your word again. Whose name in your group starts the same way?" or "That word starts the same as . (I choose a word from the alphabet chart.) Say both words. Can you find that letter on the alphabet chart?" These are the kids that need help making the connections.

"For many children writing is the gateway to understanding how reading works." pg.6 This statement is probably what hooked me on this book. Mainly because I have never really thought of the reading/writing connection like that before. I have tended to think that writing is usually the last part of language that we acquire or become proficient at.

Dec.9/08 Renee Loxton

For me writing is one of the hardest things to teach. Kid Writing has started to change my attitude towards writing. I am more positive and am willing to try the journal writing. Having the students say the words slowly and writing down the sounds that they hear is a great way to evaluate what a student knows and what they still have to work on.

"...only logical, thoughtful spellings are acceptable for words not yet taught and that conventional spelling is expected for those words that have been formally taught." p.11 This is a great expectation for teachers to have. Should a parent or administrator question the use of invented spelling this thought will allay their concerns.

Dec. 12/08 Kathy Montgomery

The part in this book that has been helpful to me was the way the shared writing or mini-lesson is done with the class. It really is a shared writing activity, but instead of the teacher supplying what the kids can't on the first go, the children see how they would record their writing using the KID writing. Then with the adult writing underneath they can see the comparison. It really helps to walk the children through the procedure of what they need to do when writing on their own. I find many grade one children still need to see this.

I have seen a few teachers in Kindergarten using this KID writing in classes and the results have really been amazing!

Dec.16 Audra Hildebrand

CH.2 - The authors make a point here about The Emotional Environment. Writing is a serious task that can be joyful and encouraging at the same time. With the focus on what you CAN do - even partial successes are reasons to celebrate. This is what spurs my kids on and what the parents love! "Emotion drives attention, which drives learning and memory and then creates a positive emotional environment for learning to occur at a higher level." pg.29 A POWERFUL statement that makes me view my teaching in a slightly different light.

CH.3 - I used this exact script to introduce Kid Writing and it worked very well. We started aiming for 1 letter per word or a magic line and by end of October no one was using magic lines. Some students have come up with a modified use of magic lines to hold a letter space in a word! Interesting.

Dec. 16 Catherine

I have been encouraged to see Kidwriting adapted into the meetings we have had with Kathy at the Board Office this past year. The examples and videos (Jodi and Kathy) have been helpful to encourage minilessons in the middle of both reading and writing. I enjoyed the first book club and walked away with several things I have been trying in my class. The way I was approaching journal writing is pretty close to the model in KIDWRITE, but I am being more diligent with writing what the child said under their writing. As Kathy mentioned above, "with the adult writing underneath they can see the comparison. It really helps to walk the children through the procedure of what they need to do when writing on their own." The child having difficulty with spacing between words is now successfully using a tiny eraser (J and K). The "Wall of Fame" I thought a lot about - having no wall space, I believe I have come up with a solution to display writing pieces but I want to try it out first in January first. Cathy B - we tried your delightful chocolate calendar and the children loved it! Leslie - you encouraged me to make gingerbread houses this week and we had a special guest reader into read Jan Brett's new book Gingerbread Friends. It is sequel to the Gingerbread baby.

January 05 MJ
Chapter 1 :
What I found reassuring and what made me reflect on the importance of what I am already doing however at times possibly too quickly in the classroom is that: “It is crucial to follow up with a comparison to accurate spelling, both for the child’s benefit and for the benefit of those concerned that children will develop an anything goes attitude.” I will now make sure not to rush the follow up activity.
Chapter 2: __
I really like the idea of creating crowns with key words or letter chunks written on them, I agree with the author that “children who read in chunks within words rather than by sounding out words sound by sound become better readers.” I am also reflecting on how to translate important words that can be posted in the classroom such as up down etc. I think that this would benefit the students in their writing. I attended a BUR inservice last year and what I found especially interesting was that every student had their own sight word booklet. In other words, the teacher asked the student what word they wanted to learn (ex: Spiderman) the teacher then helped the student write the word in their sight word book and the student illustrated the word so that during creative writing the student was able to use his personal dictionary. Wow! I find this so student driven. I will be trying this in January to see how it permits growth in the students writing.
I will not forget:
“Important to articulate through a think-aloud process in order to help those children who may not grasp it on their own.”
Fun and interesting:
“Speghetti spaces are the thin spacesbetween letters in words, and meatball spaces are the larger between words.”

Jan. 8, 2009--Alison Fossay

This entire concept is very new to me. I think the idea of having the adult writing below is wonderful...what scares me with it is those student who don't have a lot of confidence. They finally get something down on the page and then you go underneath and correct them. They might feel like they are always wrong at first.

I love the idea of Kid Writing Wall of Fame. One of my professors told us to never put published work on the wall that is not correct. I love how you put the goals or positive comment on each students work to "show off" what they can do! In Kathy and our class the students are showed the linking words right away and I think it is really neat to see students make those connections when reading and writing.