First-grade students, who have been exploring the craft of informational writing, are creating their own books as part of the Writing Workshop curriculum at Daniel Warren Elementary School.
Having mastered the power of a strong introduction to hook their reader into their writing piece, as well as how to use transitional and action words, the young writers drafted their pieces and wrote introductions during a recent lesson in Melissa Wagner’s first-grade class. As experts in their chosen topics – which ranged from how to walk a puppy to how to fold a blanket, make hot chocolate and go on a sleepover – the students broke down each step for their readers to follow along.
“Our students get motivated and excited when it’s Writing Workshop time,” said Principal Tara Goldberg, who added that teachers dedicate 45 minutes each day to develop their students’ writing skills. “Their personalities come out when they’re writing, and you can hear a lot of their voice in their original pieces. As a result, the students are applying what they are learning about spelling, as well as the craft and mechanics of writing.”
Writing Workshop, a K-5 initiative at the Rye Neck Schools, was implemented at the beginning of the school year to engage students in the art of writing and empower them with the tools and confidence to see themselves as writers. Throughout the year, the students participate in five units of study to explore informational, narrative and opinion writing and build upon their writing techniques.
Similar to first-graders, kindergartners are currently exploring informational writing and are creating their own how-to books. Meanwhile, second-graders are writing their own realistic fiction books and bringing their characters to life by including details, such as actions, internal and external dialogue, and vivid descriptions.
“Writing Workshop is an engaging way for students to practice their writing skills and to celebrate and see themselves as writers,” Goldberg said. “They’re filled with stories, facts and strong opinions. We’re teaching them to be confident to put them on paper and through that they’re growing their skills as writers.”