02-18-2008, 07:02 PM
We do TC Writers' Workshop whereas they are supposed to determine what they are experts in.
Prior to our district's adoption of this writing program, yes, my first graders would select an animal of choice they would like to learn more about, research it, and do an animal report.
Honestly, I can see both sides. The kids really enjoyed doing the report but they needed SO much of my help in researching and organizing.
Having them chose a topic and write their own All About Book does a few things. 1) It gives them ownership that they are indeed an expert at something 2) It gives them more of an opportunity to truly write it themselves 3) It allows for ALL students (not just the avg and above) to feel they have accomplished an All About Book by the end so everyone feels successful - everyone's book looks different and is about different things.
The initial choosing of the topic is really hard for first graders as is trying to explain some of the sections. What I have found successful is having me "write" an all about with them. My mini lessons are me writing my All About Book.
Looking back, having them write about an animal I think is writing for a different purpose. All about books, I thought, was about having them teach someone else about something they know a lot about - something they feel they are an expert in. Writing an animal report is having them learn about an animal and then teach someone else about it - it's like doing double duty.
Hmmm...this just occurred to me. I never really reflected about this before. Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Oh..BTW, I am by no means an expert at UoS or TC Writers' Workshop. Although I've been doing it for about 4 years, I still find myself learning the program - tweaking every year for my kids.