During Writers' Workshop, we have worked on writing up lowercase letters, capital letters at the beginning of our sentences, and punctuation. After working on lowercase and capital letters, we spent a day editing this story for our mini-lesson. They had to write the each work with the correct upper or lowercase letters. There was enough words so that each student had the chance to complete one word. This ended up being a little long for my first graders, but they did enjoy it.
Then, we spent a week focusing on different types of sentences/ punctuation. My favorite activity was when we read Mo Willem's We Are in a Book! from his Elephant and Piggie series. I had the students raise their hands into a point if it was an exclamation, make a W with their arms if it was a questions, and cross their arms across their chest if it was a statement. They loved this book and remembered the motions. Sometimes, they were so into the book, I had to remind them of their job. Later that week, they continue to use those motions throughout the day to let me know if the sentence they spoke or read was a question, statement, or exclamation.
Finally, we did another editing paper. This time, I wrote one sentence and gave each student a copy. Together, we found the letter and punctuation mistakes. Then, I had them rewrite the sentence on the line below. I knew rewriting it would be hard for them, and I can see that this is an area that they need more practice in. Unfortunately, this was one of the last Writers' Workshop lessons I will teach, so I will not have the chance to do this more. I am sad to stop this subject as it has definitely been my favorite to teach. I have seen so much improvement in my students since the start of the year!
Last weekend, I was home for my mom's birthday, and we went to Dutch Fest with my cousin, who is in first grade, and aunt. While we were waiting, my little cousin pulled out a small bag with a pencil and paper, saying that she needed to write down what she saw so that she could remember it. My aunt looked at me and asked, "Is this normal for first graders? She just started wanting to take paper with her to write." I smiled.
When encouraged, first graders love to write, especially about their own lives and ideas. I might just buy my students little notebooks for a good-bye present, so they can write about their adventures at home.