We have been doing lots of writing lately. We are lucky to have our reading specialist, Mrs. Cronin, help us every day during Writers Workshop now, which means the students get double the help from teachers, which is great. But they have become so independent and successful at writing they hardly need us! :) We are currently working on writing non-fiction "How to" books, in which kindergarteners choose something they know how to do and write out the steps. But we have also been working on other aspects of writing.
Stretching Out Words
A big concept in both reading and writing for kindergarteners is "stretching out a word." This is the same as sounding out a word, and it seems simple enough, but it takes a lot of thinking and knowledge synthesis on the part of a five-year-old to sound out a word. First, they have to be comfortable breaking the word down into each of its parts, which can be tricky. For example, "mat" has three sounds to it - mmm aaa ttt, while "flat" has four sounds to it - fff lll aaa ttt, and "that" has only three sounds - tthhh aaa ttt. Complicated stuff for beginning writers!
Next, they have to recognize that each sound is represented by a letter or combination of letters. Then they have to remember which letter it is, and how to write the letter! It's amazing to see their minds at work during writing. We do lots of practice with stretching out words as a whole class, and independently. Here are some pictures of us practicing:
The best part is to see them putting this practice to work during writing time! Here we are writing letters to our high school penpals in Milwaukee. They were so excited to send their letters off to a real high schooler! We are eagerly anticipating their response. :)