Saturday, March 17, 2012

Writing in Kinder!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing GREEN?!?! Or will you be pinched today?!?!

Getting our little Chisselers (Irish slang for: Children) to love writing isn't always easy! But here are some quick and easy ideas that encourage the kiddos to WANT to go to the writing center during their choice/free time and write until their hearts content! 

Throughout the school year, I teach my students what it takes to be a good writer. During our journal time, I begin the year by letting students draw pictures of things they enjoy; their family, school, friends, etc. If they can write letters, words or sentences to go with their picture that is GREAT! If not, that is O.K. too. I don't push them, I just let them get their feelings out on paper however they feel fit and when they are ready and confident, they will start writing. After the first month or so, I start pulling one table a day to my horseshoe table and work with them in a small group.  At this time, I teach each of the skills that it takes to be a good writer one skill at a time. I move on to the next skill when they are ready. Then at the end of journal time, the table that I worked with, gets to share their journal with the rest of the class. We sit in a circle and listen as each "author" reads their journal entry for the day! The students really take pride in their writing this way.

 So, what does it take to be a good writer in kindergarten you ask? Here is our checklist:
  • Leave finger spaces
  •  Begin with a capital letter
  • I used word wall words (and used the word wall to help me spell them)
  • I used an ending mark 

At this point in the school year, I have this editing checklist at the bottom of their daily journals because we ALL know that authors must edit their work! This editing checklist is so the kiddos can go back and edit their writing to make sure they have each of those things in their writing. The editing checklist also requires them to go back and re-read to make sure that it makes sense, a skill that they often forget to do! At this point in the year, students still can't wait to share their journals and are so proud of their work. Now it's time for me share their work with you! 

When I get big I will get a pup.

I have a whole room of ducky's.

We talk about speech bubbles a lot and point them out in books that we read, so when I tell the students "OF COURSE YOU CAN USE SPEECH BUBBLES IN YOUR OWN WRITING" they jump at the chance! 

My sister is one year old and she is walking! ( I love how he used an exclamation point at the end AND remembered to read it with expression!!) 

Yesterday after school I got a new watch! 

A goat has big horns. Do you think a goat has big horns? (This little guy was really excited to use the question mark. And he shared with us what he knows! Then asked us what if we thought the same thing!)


This next journal was too cute not to add. My little friend Jordan is extremely creative at home and at school. He was so excited to share that he had made a drum at home with recycled materials that he wrote about it in THREE different journal entries! 

Entry 1: Last night I was recycling stuff and I made a drum with a basket and a strip of paper and a house with a lid and paper.    Entry 2: I made a drum for Music and its in my locker.      Entry 3: I made a drum for Music. I did not make the drum for Mrs. B but I did make a note for Mrs. B but the necklace part broke.

Today is your LUCKY will find the Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow!
(click on the words above to find your treasures) 


Journals aren't the only way to get the Chisselers to write....

 Guided Reading gives GREAT Writing Ideas too!!

Guided reading is not only a great time to teach reading skills, but also to teach writing skills. The books we read for guided reading the last two weeks worked GREAT to teach/review, how to label, write lists, use the dictionary, 4-square writing, and writing facts that we learn from non-fiction books. This is not only a chance to write but it is great for comprehension as well. Are they able to recall information that they just read? 

Here are some other questions to ask...Are they able to write about what they read? Are they able to relate to the characters? Do they know where to look to find out what those hard vocabulary words mean? (the dictionary or the glossary).

These two list papers are at the writing center as a choice when writing. Students can write their own lists! Click HERE to get a copy of the list on the left. 

We learned about how a fox goes looking for food. In the book, the author labels the parts of the fox that are used when the fox is on the prowl.So we decided to do some of our own labeling!
Click here to get this worksheet!

This is a higher level book with LOTS of vocabulary and LOTS of facts. Students had to write at least TWO things that they learned about Sea Turtles.

Easy Four-square writing activity: take a blank piece of copy paper and fold it in half and then fold it in half again. Open it up and trace the creases with a pencil. write the topic in the center and have students write away! What do you do when you stay with Grandma?? This four-square writing page is always a choice at the writing center and choice time! It is easy and fun for students and teachers alike! (You don't have to make copies of this one! Just put out copy paper!!)
I teach students that in order to find out how to spell words we do not know, we must go to the dictionary (whether it is online or a good old fashioned BOOK). This worksheet allows them to go to the dictionary and find vocabulary words, practice writing them and then they are to draw a picture of the word.This too, is in the writing center as a choice when writing.

Once these writing skills have been taught and practiced during guided reading, I then put them as a choice in the writing center. Students are so excited to get to do WRITE WHAT THEY WANT instead of what the TEACHER TELLS THEM TO WRITE! It is ownership! It is their OWN PERSONAL WORK and something they are very PROUD of!!! 

 Tips for you to remember:
  • Allow time for students to write what THEY want to write
  • Make it fun! 
  • Allow students to share their work with others!  

  May the Luck O' the Irish be with you!!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day from me!!
Carie Ramirez, Kindergarten Teacher


  1. Very clear, well explained, helpful photos, and empowering for students. Thank you so much for sharing! Carolyn

  2. Great ideas and fun treasure hunt, Carie! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful free printables! I pinned your post to the Reading and Writing Readiness collaborative Pinterest board at Deb @


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