Sunday, September 16, 2012
Teaching Writing with Library Mouse - 1st Grade Ed.
Last week, I started teaching Writing Workshop. When asked who liked writing a few weeks ago, most students responded saying that they did not like writing. I knew this was the first thing we needed to work on if we were going to get anywhere in Writing Workshop. They cannot all hate writing, so I decided my first week needed to be spent motivating them to write.
When I was in a second grade classroom, I used the book Library Mouse to inspire a writing project, and I thought that this may also work with my first graders. On Monday, we read the book Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. I had them listen to find out what the library mouse liked to do and how he started it. In this book, Sam the library mouse loves to read and decides that he will write books too. He begins by remember what he read in a book about writing: "Write what you know." He writes his first book about the life of a mouse. This fits perfectly with what I need to be teaching in Writing Workshop, since the first unit is about small moments from their own lives.
I sent my first graders off to write a book about themselves. I let them know that if they needed more paper they could get more since stories about yourself can get long. I also told them that if they wrote a story that was at least two pages, then they could receive a cover later in the week. They immediately got to work. It was hard to get them to stop writing so that we could go to specials! They were so focused it worked like magic.
On Tuesday, I told them that when I came in, I found a book that Sam the library mouse had left for us. I downloaded it from Daniel Kirk's website. They could not believe that Sam wrote them a book. We read it and talked about what Sam had starting writing first in Library Mouse, and they started writing.
On Wednesday, Sam left another special gift. It was the Meet the Author box! When they looked inside, they saw a mirror, just like in the book. Some students were so surprised. One girl squealed, "It's me! I'm the author!" I also introduced "When I'm done, I've just begun" on this day, since some students were beginning to stop writing during Writing Workshop.
I was amazed to see the difference in my writers from where they were at the beginning of school to where they are now. Most did not like writing, and on Monday, everyone could not wait to start writing. My teacher said that she even had students coming up asking when Writing Workshop is. A little motivation goes a long way. I'm thinking Sam will need to bring everyone erasers when we start working on editing skills.
What do you do to motivate your writers and help them to view themselves as authors?