Writing in kindergarten is of the utmost importance. Yet, it makes me want to set myself on fire.
Seriously, it’s frustrating and difficult for me. I expect the first letter to be capital, finger spaces between words, punctuation at the end, and I expect it all in perfect handwriting. Those four expectations are ruining my life.
Sorry not sorry if you’re one of those people who think writing is magical and you have all of the answers. I don’t.
Here’s what I do know (from years of loathing this inevitable
pain in my ass life skill):
- It needs to happen every day in some form.
- Have kids write words they know. Sight words are great, so are names and family members.
- Sound spelling is key and should be encouraged. Have kids break down the word by using his or her arm as a tool – shoulder = first sound, elbow = middle sound, wrist = ending sound OR stretch the word out. Let kids choose the way that works best for him or her.
- It’s helpful for the child, you, and the parents if you dictate some or all of what the student wants to say or attempted to write AND have the child dictate sentences that you say. It’s also helpful to just write the correct spelling under the misspelled word.
- Instead of rolling your eyes or shaming the kids (I’ve never done that) when they struggle or make obvious errors, just talk about how normal it is to have a hard time with this. How this happens every year, so it’s nothing to feel bad about and the mistakes will help him or her get better.
- Building confidence is essential. If the student feels like a failure, he or she will not attempt to fail again, therefore your writing block
sucks even worseis even more difficult.
- Don’t let the kids know that you hate writing. Maybe you love it. I don’t. Have I mentioned that?
- Remind yourself that you won’t hate writing (as much) when March rolls around.
- Stay organized!
I make sure to have monthly journals for the kids, which helps with conferences, comparing months of writing, and something to do when you’re out of center ideas. 🙂
I keep their monthly journals in folders, by differentiated group (named after Alphafriends). I keep these folders and any other tools that we may need in a basket from the Dollar Tree.
I literally googled images of Alphafriends, printed those pics, and taped them to folders. My Andy Apples are the “low” group and Dudley Ducks are the “high” group. Kids move between groups as much as necessary.
I keep letters for reference inside of each folder and a post-it note with the names of the students in that group. *I use a post-it because the names change so frequently.
I usually let Andy Apples focus on copying sentences that they want to write, but don’t know how to. Or they can focus on sight words or brief sentences with a little sound spelling (e.g. “I like the cat.”). I also still write some of their words in yellow marker, that they can trace. Lots of modifying and adjusting.
Just getting the thoughts out of their sweet little mouths is one of the greatest struggles in this group. The Word Gap is a real thing, people.
Benny Bears write super short sentences, usually incorporating our word of the week.
Callie Cats are writing sentences that they want to write about. They usually don’t need a ton of reminders when it comes to finger spacing.
Dudley Ducks can express their thoughts and put it onto paper. They are confident in their sound spelling prowess and are not afraid to make mistakes.
Here are some examples from this past month. I really love to compare their March Journals to their September Journals. Scroll to the bottom to see September – YOWZERS!
And September. One example is from my Andy Apple group and one is from my Dudley Duck group. A lot of growth!
Grab the above journals (and for the whole year) by clicking this picture:
Good luck and pray that I don’t end up in flames.
*Would you like to read about how I deal with this at the beginning of the school year?