I BIG thank you to my friend Grace who is interning with Kristi Marz in her K class at PS59! (Kristi is co-author of Better Charts and the chartchum blog: http://chartchums.wordpress.com/). Grace arranged for me to tag along with her on Friday morning. In the one hour, I learned SO much about the importance of guiding the students to think about how they are going to act during workshop, as well as what they would do during workshop. It was Writing Workshop time and Kristi had each student already decide how they would act during this time and all day long on a Learning Plan. Here is one student’s Learning Plan and her chart showing what each symbol represents:
Then in small groups, the students made a writing goal to follow during their Sign-Making Writing Unit of Study. They chose to either: to make clear letters, to make symbols or “no” symbols, to put spaces between words, or to add pictures with actions.
Grace guided a small group to circle their goal and tape it to their goal sheet in their writing tray. Then off they went to work on writing. I observed one friend make many “No Ghost” signs. He told me he needed lots because his house was big. Another friend was busy making a “No Spills” sign to hang in the cafeteria.
As workshop was ending, I got to see the power of the habits of mind. One friend didn’t want to stop. Kristi patiently reminded him to be flexible. Now he had to stop and put away his writing tray and then at Choice Time, he could return to his writing. Another friend wrote many signs during workshop and Kristi got him a “Persistence Hat” to wear! As Grace was fitting him for the hat, he told me the story of the worm on his hat. “The cat knocked the worm’s blocks over. But he persisted and built it again. Then the rat knocked it down but he persisted…” I loved how the hat gave him a chance to retell a story, as well as place the spotlight on him for acting strong during writing workshop.
Once all Writing Workshop materials were put away, the kindergarteners gathered back on the rug. Kristi told them that she was trying to work on being persistent in helping students. On her work plan she gave herself a check and then sketch herself helping a student. I watched a friend, who wanted to be safe, write that he was “being safe by not hitting.”
I left PS 59 thinking if these Kindergarten students can be guided to think about their behavior, as well as, learning content, then so can my 4th graders!! I can’t wait to introduce them to the habits of mind. They probably won’t get excited to wear a hat so instead, I’ll give out stickers!
Thank you Grace and Kristi for teaching me so much in an hour of Writing Workshop!!