From the moment my oldest was in kindergarten, until second grade, it was automatic that she would complete a writing workshop to start the school day. For some reason, I stepped away from this routine and tried out other things to start our days, meaning, my youngest never had a real chance to get into the groove of her own style of writing, or a chance to practice spelling certain, “every day words”.
Example of every day words (I made this saying up, it’s not actually a “thing”): They, are, the, when, then, there, their, house, because, though, me, my, ours, etc.. these words usually come up when my girls write their stories and with how far along my youngest is, she should’ve had a grasp on these by now.. we started writing workshop up a few weeks ago and my youngest improved in spelling so much and her story telling skills are much better as well.
Our mornings are now beginning with writing workshop, while they listen to an audiobook. This allows me time to journal, clean and workout, while they spend about an hour completing their drawing and writing. I use to limit it, but I have found they are getting more in depth with their drawings and with their stories, so I just give them the hour. Plus I’ve been waking up way later than normal, so it helps me have time to do my daily tasks as well. Win, win!
I will try to explain a little about my writing workshop, there’s not much to it to be honest. I made this task up after a lot of research and found something similar that a teacher did daily. I made it my own and I have loved watching it come into your home classrooms as well.
I made specific paper for my girls to do their drawings and writing on. You can purchase it here. I have a very specific vision of how I want to switch my organization of the girl’s work/portfolio next year and will share that with you when I’m done.
Writing workshop: I give my girls the freedom to draw a story about whatever they want and then, depending on age, they will write from one to five sentences. Sometimes they have something specific in mind they want to write about, while others they utilize the many different drawing books or eeboo story cards that I have bought for them. I let them draw and write on their own and then they read me the story and I will go through the story with them and correct their spelling, punctuation and verbiage, if needed. In the very beginning, when my girls began this in kindergarten, I would have them draw, then tell me the story and I would write it on the back of their drawing. Then, as they got older, I would have them draw, verbally tell me the story, then attempt to write it down themselves. I would prompt them with what they wanted to write, because through research, I learned it is hard for children to get their thoughts onto paper. For my oldest, I never checked the work in kindergarten, I wouldn’t correct the spelling or flow of her work until almost first grade, but my youngest was a perfectionist and wanted me to hover over her, in the beginning, and help her spell her words. It is funny how different they were.
As the girls moved onto first grade, I would expect them to write two sentences to their stories and then I would start correcting them after they wrote. At this point, my oldest (end of her second grade year) has to write me a complete story story (something actually has to begin, happen and end), while I let my youngest (first grade) still write a story, but a lot of the times it involves describing the picture and not so much a flowing story, though her story flow is getting much better. I have found that this has helped teach them things like creative/independent writing, penmanship, helped with their drawing skills, punctuation, flow of sentences, a lot of grammar, etc. and the learning aspect has happened very naturally and in a fun way. I have noticed my oldest uses her writing workshop to practice punctuation, proper grammar, usage of quotation marks, etc. and I am able to teach her so much through them. I think she finds it less dry and more fun than the workbooks (which we still do). Also, as we learn new things from her First Language Lessons Grammar Curriculum, she is incorporating the usage of adjectives more and whatever else we learn about during our lessons.
Hopefully this helps you all. As I get more questions, I will add the answers to this post.
Drawing books and eeboo story card links below, click on photo: