Welcome! Join me as I share my experiences as a wife, mom, and kindergarten teacher, and my reflections on them all. Come along as I share my crazy journey!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Little Peanut Learns to Write

I have a sweet Little Peanut in my kindergarten class this year who is developmentally about 3.5 years old.  Yes, as you can imagine, in a classroom where we are in the early stages of writing, this creates a challenge.  Little Peanut knows a handful of letters and a couple of sounds, and he can recognize a couple of sight words.  Do you think he is a writer?

He is!

In September, he was struggling to hold a pencil.  He had very little muscle tone in his hand and didn't really understand what to do with pencils and crayons.  During writing workshop, we spent our time telling oral stories and learning to expand our stories to include important details and information.

In October, we made the shift from telling oral stories to writing them down.  Little Peanut began his writing journey by drawing a "collection of colors" (aka scribbles).   He could tell an oral story "with prompting and support" and could tell what each color meant in his story. 

In November, things still looked the same, except the pressure he was able to use when coloring was better.  He had gained a little muscle in his tiny little fingers!

While I was pleased that he had come this far, the road ahead still seemed long for Little Peanut.  I decided the next step/teaching point that would benefit him most was a few more drawing lessons.

I began by asking Little Peanut about his story.  It took a little while for him to understand that I didn't want him to orally label his picture (this is the sun, this is the water, this is the sand, etc.).  Once he did, he was able to tell me his oral story: I went to the beach with my mom.

Next, we talked about how important it is to be able to see the things in his picture that he is talking about in his story.  I used a sticky note to demonstrate how I would draw the picture of his story (based on what he had told me about already).

We talked about each element and I asked him to draw the picture again himself.  Little Peanut picked up a brown crayon and got to work drawing the sand.  I walked away.  At this point, I wanted Little Peanut to be independent again so that I could see how much learning he had taken on after our work together.  I may have watched over his shoulder from time to time as he worked, but he didn't know that.  :)

When he finished, he proudly raised his hand and showed me this masterpiece:

In this picture, you can now identify two people (Little Peanut and his mom), the brown sand, the blue sky, the yellow sun and the waves in the water.  Talk about a difference!

I asked Little Peanut to read me his story again.  I was curious if he would tell me the same story or if he would alter it.  He said:

Little Peanut still struggles but he is making great progress and he has such a good attitude about it!  Today, I had the opportunity to do some planning with him before he began to write a new story.  We talked about remembering to draw all the important things so the reader could understand the story.  Because he still needs support with his drawing, that is what we did.  He told me his story and what he wanted to draw and I drew it on a sticky note.

He was excited to get started!  He is writing about his mom driving him to his grandma's house.

It looks like he's off to a great start!

He has drawn the road, the beginnings of a car and the beginnings of a house.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for Little Peanut!


  1. Wow...this is incredible...it makes me want to teach KDG....not! They are precious though and you have lots of patience that is really paying off. I can hardly wait for the next Little Peanut story, Robin. xo

  2. So much growth for this little one! You are so good to recognize what he needed to nudge him on the road to success. I am printing this out to share with my teachers to show what can happen when we teach the writer, not the writing. Awesome!

  3. There was a quote on the daily word I receive today that fits you so well, Robin! "Patience is also a form of action." -Auguste Rodin, sculptor I love that your patience shows so beautifully here, and look at the progress this little one has made. And also like that you documented it and then shared with us-terrific!

  4. Oh, this makes my heart smile. We have a life skills class and this reminds me so much of them. Seeing progress like this is such a smile booster!

  5. Wow, this is such a great example of thoughtful, targeted teaching. I can't wait to see what Little Peanut is writing by the end of the school year!!