|A third grader listens as her kinder buddy plans out where to put the words on the page|
Every year my school has a writing celebration. We go all out- every child and teacher receives a button that says "I Heart Writing". This year we even gave buttons to the visiting parents. There is a breakfast for the parents, each class does some sort of writing celebration to celebrate their published pieces, a whole-class text, or the students' works in progress. Many of the classes cover their classrooms with decorations, one of my fav teachers makes a red carpet for her kids to walk on. This year parnter-in-crime and I covered our tables with red table cloths and cut-out hearts. Each table held a centerpiece of tissue-paper flowers the children made themselves. I've written about it in past years here and here.
In the afternoon every class buddies up with a class on another grade level to share their writing. This year my partner-in-crime and the third grade teacher she was paired with decided to have the kids write together instead of sharing their published pieces. It was amazing to watch! I loved watching the third graders patiently plan their writing with the kindergartners, encouraging them to come up with a story idea to put down on paper. The third graders wrote, but all of them took the time to read what they were writing back to the kindergartners so that the five year olds could read the stories themselves. Then the kinders added the illustrations. One set of sisters- a third grader and the kindergartner worked hard on writing a story about what a snowball fight they had. The two leaned laughed and joked as they worked on adding those funny details about who hit who in the face with the snow. Some pairs of boys wrote books about cars and the third graders took the time to encourage the kinders to think of sound-words to go along with their pictures.
Luckily the most patient third grade girl was paired with Pixie. When her big eyes looked at me and whispered, "Um, Mrs. Lipstick, could you help me with her?" I wished there was more I could do. The excitement for Pixie was just too much for her to sit still...
Standing back and watching the writing process between students in such different grades made me so proud of my school and the commitment we place on writing. For third graders to be able to conference with kindergartners as though they were teachers truly shows that they have been immersed in the culture of writing themselves for so long that they know exactly what is expected. And for the third graders and the kinders to be able to work together so easily on one writing piece shows that as a school we really are teaching writing in much the same way throughout the grade levels, despite the different expectations for each grade.
I heart my school, and of course, I heart writing.