Jun 24, 2019

Let's Talk, Writing Talks

Now that I've taken some time "off" and by off I mean..... getting up at 620 everyday and heading to the pool, staying there for 4 hours(oldest daughter practices at 7, middle 730, youngest 845, and I coach at 10), heading to swim meets and softball games. Then YES, I've been off.  :)  It's been a beautiful, busy life and I've enjoyed every.single.minute. (minus the feet of rain we've gotten in the month of June in Cincinnati) But now I'm ready to share something that's been in the works for a few years.

A little more than 2 years ago I sat in a professional development  put on by my colleague about Number Talks.  Have you heard of this book?

While I was listening to her explain Number Talks I started to think...... how could I make this work in writing? I quickly asked Em if I could borrow her book and read it over the summer.  I didn't need to read much for all the ideas to start storming my head. Then, I got to work.  For the past two years I have been testing Writing Talks out on my firsties.  I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

You may now be wondering... what is a Writing Talk? Well friends grab something to drink, maybe a snack or two, and get comfy. f

I had always been a big believer in the "Daily Fix-It".  I mean kids need to see mistakes and be able to fix them, right? I had kids who could find those missing capital letters and punctuation, BUT what I wasn't seeing was the transfer into their everyday writing.  Then, I read this blog post from Michelle at Big Time Literacy.  It was game changing for me and my students. Now instead of my students seeing sentences written incorrectly, they see them written correctly. You may be thinking, "Really? You saw that much transfer?" The answer is, yes.  I was told by our Title 1 team that the transfer was happening in their small groups.  I was seeing the transfer happen in my own classroom.  Now, I can't tell you that every single student was making the transfer because if I'm being real about this, I teach kiddos who are 6 and 7.  Knowing this means that sometimes firsties don't remember capital letters and punctuation but sometimes, they do! :)  My job is to give them repeated practice so that in the future, this becomes like breathing. I wrote these "talks" for first graders, but you can totally use these writing talks for kindergarten, first, or second grade.

This is what it looks like. I put up a sentence on the board. At first, they are easy and mostly include short vowels. As the year progresses, we hit long vowels, vowel teams, adjectives, verbs, etc. This gives us talking points for our Writing Talk.
                                      (beginning of the year)




First I ask the students what they notice about the sentence that's on the board. I accept the answers students give that are relevant. Capital letters, meatball spaces between words, small, tall and fall letters, punctuation, sight words, short vowel words, etc. 

It may sound something like this:
T: What do you notice about this sentence?
St: I see a capital letter at the start of the sentence.
T: Yes, that's right. All sentences start with a capital letter. Mirror (or whatever you do for repeating)
Sts.: Mirror
T: All sentences start with a capital letter (I motion both my arms up).
Sts: All sentences start with a capital letter (doing the motion as well).

We do this for each thing that is noticed. Then, I have the students write the sentence correctly after I model how to write it. When I'm writing I would say, "We will start with the word "the" the 't' is a capital letter because all sentences start with a capital letter. Then I have a tall 'h' and a small 'e'.  After that we need a "meatball space". Then I write the word ball.  It's a tall, small, tall, and tall. We need a meatball space. "  
I go through this for each word in the sentence. 



When we're finished I remind the students to check each word to be sure it looks like my sentence. Then, I go around to each student once they are finished and check their work.  If a letter isn't formed correctly or something is missing, I write it in highlighter and the students have to trace over it.  Below you'll see a picture of the paper the students would get.



 If you're interested in this product, I will give it away to the first 6 friends to leave a comment.   If you'd like to take a peek at it, click the picture above!  OR right here. :) 



13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Love this idea! It makes perfect sense…instead of having our students look for mistakes to fix, show them right off the bat how to write a sentence correctly pointing out the conventions that you mention - begin with a capital, tall and small letters, spaces, end with a punctuation mark, etc. and have them practise this!

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    1. Hi Kristina! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and comment. :) I'd love to send you a copy, can you post your email?
      Thanks!
      Maria

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  3. Hi,
    Love the process of Writing Talks!
    Kim
    khenry22@aol.com

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    1. Hi Kim! You should see it in your inbox! Let me know what you think!
      Maria

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  4. That would be awesome, Maria! I guess an email address would help. ; )
    kristinamray@hotmail.com
    Thanks.

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  5. Wow! This looks amazing! I would love it! Thanks!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I would love this! trnelson87@gmail.com

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  7. I love this! It seems so simple, but I can really see how it would help my first graders with constructing sentences correctly!
    ctlawson@ortn.edu

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  8. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing it.

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  9. Wow! I have used "find and fix the mistakes" writing exercises for years, but have not thought about talking through a sentence that is written correctly in such detail like this before. I definitely can see now how beneficial this would be for first graders. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. This was a great and interesting article to read. I have really enjoyed all of this very cool information

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