We had our first writing celebration on Friday. My students have worked so hard on getting their first pieces written. Our focus was generating ideas and moving through the writing process. I had been seeing small signs that we were reaching our goal throughout the unit. Scribblers became letter writers. Reluctant writers became prolific writers. My students love writing time. They steal time to write throughout the day and are extremely reluctant to stop writing, even when it's time to go home! At our celebration, each author shared his/her writing and received three compliments/questions. Each student had a moment to shine and each student learned a little something about how writing can be improved so that readers understand it.
To be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing or where the unit was leading. I felt like I was blindly following Lucy Calkins, hoping that my students would be able to produce writing by the end of it all. Lucy leads at a good pace, but more importantly she is encouraging. Too often I would look over my students' writing and think of all the things they need to work on. My focus kept coming back to conventions. I would even make remarks to students about what they could improve. I noticed that this caused those students to have a writing lull. When I jumped back on board with Lucy and saw and praised all the ideas students were generating and the effort students were giving, my students responded with putting forth even more effort and producing even better writing. I must trust that as I follow along with Lucy, the conventions will come.
A teacher down the hall had her students publish their first work this past week as well. When I walked in to see their work, it all looked the same: one page beautifully printed with great conventions, each a picture with one sentence. I walked back into my room at the end of the week and saw my student's work displayed. It looked a lot less refined, but I saw each author in his/her writing. I remembered the strides each student had made during the unit. Booklets, one page, one word, many sentences. My students' work varied but each piece reflected the author and showed the author's purpose. My students will never know just how proud I am of their work.
I hope you had a great week!