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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nonfiction Writing!!!

 Slice of Life Challenge - Day 29 - hosted by Two Writing Teachers

I have been taking a class called Crafting Nonfiction as Readers and Writers for K-2 teachers.  It has been awesome!  I have been learning not only from a master teacher, but also I've had the opportunity to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms regarding nonfiction reading and writing.
The "homework" for us is to try something new, nonfiction-related, and bring samples or pictures to share with the class.  I spent time last week taking pictures of all the things we do during a day in kindergarten.  My kids each chose a picture (that they starred in, of course) and wrote a caption for it.  Some chose to say exactly what they were doing in the picture (i.e., I was reading with Tyler in the library.) and some were more general (i.e., We go to music class.).  I left the door open for them to choose how they wanted to write their caption, what they wanted to say and then sat back to see what they would do.

My purpose for this activity was three-pronged.  First, I needed to have something "nonfiction related" to share in my final class.  Second, I wanted to be able to finish up their last "normal" writing pieces and not leave one hanging out there half-finished over spring break.  Third, I wanted to have a display to show parents during our kindergarten round up meeting because they always ask the question: What will my child do in kindergarten all day long?  One activity...three problems solved.  Nice!

The kids really did well with the captions.  Most wrote one simple sentence.  A few wrote a longer 2-3 sentence caption.  Three kids had minimal sound support for writing (ONLY because I wanted the parents to be able to read it) but the rest figured out their sounds and I'm confident that parents will be able to read them just fine.  A couple kids needed support to remember the spaces between words...popsickle sticks and gentle reminders did just fine for this purpose.

The kids loved it!  I loved it!  It was a nice way to wrap up our writing workshop during this crazy week.  I grouped the pictures and glued them to construction paper with titles to further explain to parents what they are seeing.  The kids oohed and ahhhed over the display!  They are so excited to help the parents of the "new kindergarten kids" and they feel so grown up thinking that they are writing for this big, real world purpose.  It really was the highlight of the week!

Here are a few pictures to show their hard work!  Enjoy!

I rolled the ball through the tunnel.                      We can read.  Books are fun when the teacher reads them.

 I play with Bristle blocks.                                                 We write stories.


  1. I love nonfiction writing. I was lucky enough to work with Drs. Janice Kristo and Rosemary Bamford on a teacher text called Nonfiction in Focus. I am always amazed at the passion nonfiction writing brings out of young writers. I think the real key to teaching kids to write is that they have a real-life purpose/audience for their writing. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  2. Today I completed a nonfiction writing unit with my K kids. We went very slow but in the end my kids were all an expert at something. I could not believe how they dove in and did some really great writing. Good luck with your study.

  3. When kids see the reason for working, they value it so much more. Wonderful job and multi-tasking to complete assignments.

  4. And it all goes together so well, Robin, in preparation (your taking the photos) & in execution (students writing about their actions/you putting a display together). I bet the parents did enjoy it, & bottom line, a story was told! Good for you for doing all that extra planning!

  5. Love that they knew who their audience was going to be, what a motivator! Non-fiction can bring out a whole new kind of kid in the writing world.