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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 11,104
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writing
Old 08-31-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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I recommend First Grade Writers: Units of Study to Help Children Plan, Organize, and Structure Their Ideas by Stephanie Parsons and Katie Wood Ray. Units of Study by Lucy Calkins is excellent, but is very expensive ($170+).

First Graders (should) learn to write in a developmental way. They start with drawing pictures and labeling them, then gradually develop sentences. Having them write sentences right away is not developmentally appropriate if they have never done any previous writing. At the most have them fill in a cloze (starter sentence). For example, "I like ________" or "I have a _______."

You can model writing sentences in your morning message. Short sentences like "Eric has a new baby brother," and "Today we can go to the playground." While you write each word, emphasize the phonemes and do "think-alouds" to show them your thinking as you write each word.

Another time you can show the finger spaces in between, or a capital letter at the beginning and a period at the end. Don't try to teach them all the skills at once.

Btw, counting the words in a sentence or counting the sounds in a word could be a daily oral exercise (phonemic awareness), something they should have learned in K, but you should also teach. Clap for each phoneme (sound) in the word, or each word in a sentence.

The kids need a lot of visuals to help them with the writing. A teacher & student-made chart with pictures and words is very useful. If you want to write about the playground, draw pictures of the different equipment and label them with the words. Another chart for colors, etc. Do this together with the students so they know where to find the words they want.

There is so much that goes into First Grade writing that you really need to read the book.
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