My students have been writing sentences and little stories for quite some time. Our program emphasizes writing as one of the key components of a good language and reading curriculum. For the past two weeks we have also been using a word bank for our writing. So…yesterday I asked them to “write about a frog”. We had just read a poem about a frog. I put these words into our word bank:
Usually my students write three sentences for any and all stories. Three is an easy number. Three sentences provide for a statement and some description. “I see the boy. He is big. He can run.” We’re not striving for literature, just a little structure, and comprehension of the fact that we can write down our thoughts.
Yesterday I threw them a curve ball. “You may write as many sentences as you want. You may write one or three or eight. But you must use every word in the word bank. Everyone hold up four fingers. You must use all four words. Cross them off of a list or underline them in your sentences, but make sure you use all four words.”
My brightest little star is up from her seat in about five minutes and hands me this.
“I see the little green frog.”
I give her a pat on the back and she goes to get a book to read.
Three more follow with the same sentence and then retrieve their journals from their cubbies or get a book.
I’m beginning to be concerned about one of my other strong readers when she gives me her paper:
“I see a frog. I see a little frog. I see a green frog. I see the frog.” LOL A little more work, but she knows what she is doing!
All of my students eventually wrote successful sentences. I had to ask three of them to read their sentences; I asked them “is this what you would say to me?”; then I had them correct their word order. One of my students can’t write, for reasons I won’t discuss, but he brought me his blank paper and said, “Do you want me to tell you what it says?” “Yes.” “I see the little green frog and he is playing.” “Great story!”