that it is the fear of being correct. They have been told for so long already that they have to spell the words correct the first time. "Don't mess up!" I try to tell my kiddos to just write. I don't care if they spell the words right, just write the sounds they hear in the words. That doesn't seem to work bc they panic when they can't figure out or I won't tell them how to spell the words. It's very frustrating.
I think that many parents instill correct spelling from a young age, so they don't get it when we say not to worry about it... I also think it's all the processes (spaces between words, spelling, where do the capitals go, what words do I want to write, I forgot what I wanted to write!). I think they are old enough to write multiple sentences -- they can speak them! I have become frustrated with all the frameworks we give them (graphic organizers, etc.) that lock them into the process instead of the creativity. When I tell my kids to write whatever they want, they go to town. I've really embraced Lucy Caulkin's Writing Workshop (we've come full circle, it's nothing new!) and am balancing it with mini lessons from 6+1, with an occasional graphic organizer thrown in, and I believe my students enjoy writing a whole lot more!
are reasons for kids to find writing more difficult.
For the last five or so years, my teaching partner and I gradually moved to a more effective approach to writing and the fear disappeared for literally all of the kids. It's quite different than what other people did in our district so it took a bit of courage for us to go this route but we'd never do it the old way again.
Now, we focus in the first four months of school on teaching the kids to spell individual words. We do it on individual chalkboards. We initially just work on letter sounds. Teacher says the sound of a... kids write and say the sound of a three times. We go through all the letters of the alphabet in mixed order. When we say /c/ we ask them to write three ways to spell it... c, k, ck.
Gradually we work into spelling three and four letter words, then longer words with long vowels, sh, or, ar, etc. At the same time, we are teaching these combinations in our reading program.
By Christmas the kids are full of spelling chunks.
In the first four months we are also modelling writing for them. On morning messages, on chart paper etc.
Then in January we have them begin to write. It's stress free for us and for them. They already know how to use letters to write the sounds they want. They know how to stretch out and record the sounds. They never have any problem with spacing... they all simply space without any problem. Why? Because they are ready. The only skill they now need to focus upon is expressing an idea. The rest is automatic for them.
Like I said, I would never go back to expecting writing before I had taught them to stretch out single words and spell them. And the results? At the end of the year, they were as far ahead or further than any previous classes where they were reluctant to write in the beginning but we tried anyway. It took us a lot of courage to try this method because in the beginning you worry that they will never learn to write, but in the end it paid off big time. Writing was enjoyable and easy for them.
The developmental writing approach has been in disfavor long enough that it is back to being acceptable again. I'm with SuzieQB on Lucy Calkins' WW (Units of Study) and the mini-lessons. It is IMHO the best and most painless way for first graders to write.
Many of my incoming first graders have had to "unlearn" the bad habits they acquired in kindergarten, including being required to spell correctly, writing "paragraphs with five supporting details," copying entire sentences from the board, using color-coded charts or clozes. Not surprisingly, their K "writing" could not be duplicated.
They were paralyzed when they were asked to write something independently, and there were many tears the first week or so.
Lucy Calkins' developmental approach helps students over this "perfection" hump, and by the end of the year my students are accomplished independent writers with amazing voice and organization, something students using the "other" program have not been able to match.
it is the fear of the unknown. There are so many words and thoughts among them and they aren't sure how to put it down. I don't know if they even link that what they say could be written down. I wonder if they realize that words on paper are the same thing as words we say.
but I taught kinder for 6 years and I looped to first with my students from last year. I learned a strategy to get them to write. It's called "make a book" just staple a couple sheets of paper together NO LINES and tell them they are going to be the author and illustrator of whatever they want. It's supposed to focus on sequencing what happened first then finally or however you want to do it, but I just wanted my students to start writing more then a couple words. It worked really well. The best writing I've had in 6 years of teaching. Maybe it will help build confidence. I also let them share their book, a couple a day. It was a center after we introduced it. The students really enjoyed it. Remember as earlier stated NO LINES on the paper. I started without, then added and they did not give me as good of a product.
It's called "make a book" just staple a couple sheets of paper together NO LINES
This is exactly what Lucy Calkins' Units of Study does.
The beauty of UoS is that students can start at different levels, from drawing pictures (to tell their story) and labeling those pictures using unlined paper, to writing short sentences on paper that have a big picture frame and maybe two lines, to eventually all lines and tiny frames. The "books" are a way to build a sense of sequence, and kids love to read and reread their own and other kids' books.