My first grade writers have been working to find small moment stories. We’ve had success using the watermelon analogy, when paired with our own story ideas. To introduce the concept, we took a walk in the woods. Our “big idea” was the walk in the woods, and we worked to identify the smaller stories within that story.
I modeled this a few times with my students before asking them to find their own small moments to write about. We’re using Lucy Calkin’s Units of Writing as a supplement. The strategies she suggests have been pivotal in growing our writing skills.
Every day we review the process for generating an idea, planning out our story (pre-writing), and illustrating/drafting. The above and below images are reviewed daily. I often change out my ideas and have them occasionally vote which one they’d like me to write about.
In an effort to keep the mini lessons short and to the point, I sometimes choose to not write every word of my modeled story. Instead, I draw squiggles for words as I share my story out loud, and every so often model a previously learned skill — Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words. Sometimes I’ll have the story already typed up or I’ll create a screen cast recording, using the Smartboard recording feature and play the screen cast of me drafting my story. It’s nice to change things up!
Another document that we use daily helps us to get ready for writer’s workshop (below). It’s our “You’re Ready When…” image. I simply take a photo of a student work spot and project it on our screen. Sometimes I import it into SMART notebook and add labels to what they need. It’s been a lifesaver and voice-saver for me!
Feel free to download the SMARTboard file for these anchor charts!