The number of times I have heard a first grader say, “My hand hurts,” or “I can’t write anymore!” breaks my heart! Physically, first grade writing is just hard. It can make me wonder, am I pushing them too hard? But then I’ll have a student who despite their fatigue asks for the next chapter to work on in their All About Me book. The imminent gratification of completing such an assignment is just too hard to resist. Generally, we kept a pace working on about a chapter a day, but as they approached the finish line of their first big assignment, first graders kicked it into high gear and completed their first final copies. It might seem a small task to complete, but in first grade, it is a milestone. They are ready to learn and, although it is hard, sometimes even painful, they are ready to push themselves. In first grade, we are learning how sounds work, identifying letters, and also learning about the writing process on a more holistic level. By first making a rough draft and then a final copy, we made sure we used complete sentences, and practiced transferring conventional spelling. First graders will continue to practice using the writing process of planning, drafting, editing/revising, and finalizing assignments as we enter new genres. As we move into poetry, making a final copy for a poem suddenly seems as easy as pie. In first grade, poetry will allow us to think abstractly and write about topics of choice. Keep an eye out for All About Me books in Friday folders this week. Your students worked extremely hard and are very proud of their efforts. I hope you find time to share them with friends and family.
Meanwhile, second and third graders have become reacquainted with the writing process through the study of poetry. During that study, we generated many poems, and carefully selected our favorites to edit and make into final copies. My classes even collaborated with Maria in Spanish to write poems about the Dia de los Muertos, incorporating Spanish words into their writing. We are also continuing to write outside, which many students find inspiring for both poetry and free choice writing. Many poems are on display outside of my writing room. Please come take a look!
Now, second and third graders are exploring their personal viewpoints through persuasive and opinion writing. Second graders will select a topic from a variety of options so they are able to write about something that interests them most. For this assignment, we will revisit paragraph writing by using topic/concluding sentences and transition words to help our writing read smoothly. Of course, they will spend time developing reasons and examples to ensure their viewpoints are supported fully. Third graders will be writing an article for their Pet Magazine, which is being completed in Reading Class. Writing is very meaningful when it is drawing on concepts being studied in other classes, and cross-curricular projects are always exciting learning opportunities. Here, third graders will work on developing a detailed paragraph answering the question: Are pets like people? In this essay, organization will be essential to conveying their viewpoints clearly. During this assignment, they will practice refining and editing their work to make a compelling argument.