#1- Write in front of the kids daily
If you are teaching first grade writing, modeling is key! I know for many of us the thought of writing in front of the kids is terrifying. Most of us weren’t English majors, and I think it brings back memories of red ink when we were kids. I, for one, am the queen of run-on sentences. Also, I LOVE commas and exclamation marks!!! I am sure all my “Grammar” friends are cringing right now as they read this!
But here is the truth, they are 6 and 7 years old! We have tons of writing knowledge to share with them. When we write in front of them it provides the perfect opportunity for us to “think-aloud” and show how writers work. I promise, they will think you are a FANTASTIC writer. They will probably ask you how you became such a good writer.
#2- Write on chart paper
It is tempting to write on a dry erase board, document camera, etc. Don’t do it! Chart paper is perfect! I like to gather students around my easel. There are many advantages to using chart paper. First, it has lines so we can model correct letter formation. Next, it is large enough for all students to see easily.
Most importantly, it preserves your work. I have had numerous times where I wrote something on the board and erased it, only to wish I had been able to access it again later in the year.
#4– Allow plenty of time for your first graders to write
|Students try the word in the left column, I write it correctly in the right-hand column.|
#5-Keep detailed notes about writing progress
|I like to keep a simple form like this. List student names along the left-hand column, then make lots of copies. Keep notes in the right-hand column about each student. Start a new sheet each week. (Keep the old ones in a notebook to be able to reference.|
#6-Provide time for first graders to share
First graders LOVE to share their work! It is very time consuming, but also very motivating to students. You do not have to have every student share in front of the entire class, or do you need to share every project. You can have students share in small groups of three to four (I usually use their table group), partner share, or have a rotation schedule for students to share in front of the class.