Park Layne Developing Writers
Park Layne students are working hard at becoming writers through a new writing program with the support of their teachers and families.
In Ohio, the learning standards in first grade put an emphasis on writing, requiring that students will write opinion pieces, or write informative/explanatory texts. At first glance, this may seem like a lot for six- and seven-year-olds, but we are finding that they are more than up to the challenge and that even five-year-olds, with the right amount of support, are able to begin composing stories and recounting “small moments.” Thanks to a new writing program teachers at Park Layne Elementary are using this year, we are really seeing students’ writing flourish.
Teachers usually begin the writing lesson with a small mini-lesson at the carpet area where they might model writing or share some stories from the day before. It’s a highly engaging part of the lesson where students are really hooked in. Before sending students to write, they often turn to their writing buddy and share what they plan to write that day. As students head off to begin crafting a new story or revising an old story, the teacher typically pulls a few students to a small table to refine a part of their writing or support students in moving their writing to the next level. This may be working on adding spaces between words or helping students to stretch out words to write. Students spend the next 20 – 30 minutes busily writing and illustrating their stories.
At the conclusion of most lessons, a few students are able to share their writing. This gives the students a real sense of purpose for their writing and gives teachers another opportunity to highlight things students are doing well or areas for improvement. Two of our kindergarten teachers and a few students presented information about this new writing program at our Board of Education meeting in January. The teachers explained the program and the results they are seeing and the students were then able to read one of their stories to several board members or administrators. We look forward to seeing just how far our students are able to take their writing this year!
By Karyl Strader