Book writing has become the biggest attraction in my classroom this year. My students are truly inspired to write books on a daily basis. Our writing table is usually always open and if it isn’t students search for someplace in the classroom to write.
I pre-cut paper into halves and distribute pages in a book format as needed. Students can choose either 3, 4 or 5 pages per book and must choose if it is to be a tall or wide book before I staple the pages together for them. Simply because all books have a title page and should at least have two pages inside, otherwise it is just a drawing or a journal.
I have very few rules to start the year. Just that each page must have something on it.
As the year has progressed, we have introduced title pages, who authors are and that a book is related to the title page. Now that we are almost two months into school, the first page always has to have a title page and we are encouraging our students to write about the topic on their first page.
Printing is developmental. I only expect students to write what they can.
We teach using mini-lessons as we go with small group instruction and then let our students write. For those who know their sounds, we start with labeling their pictures and move on to sentence writing. Our beginning writers are still scribbling at this point and we don’t insist that it is a story. We truly are trying to encourage a love of writing.
Choice and flexibility in writing materials have inspired my students. Markers, pencil crayons, crayons, fancy pencils and high lighters are all available to be used.
For years I limited the use of markers for writing but have realized that children really are drawn to writing if they can use markers. For extra special occasions, we may pull out our smelly markers!
I personally love using metal tins in my classroom to store the writing tools as they are not easily broken, unlike plastic bins or baskets. I found these containers at Ikea and I am quite pleased with how well they are used and easily spread out on our tables for students to reach them! I really liked that each container was under a dollar!
On the back of each book, I tried to praise each book for something the child has been working on or acknowledge their hard work. I also provide a next step.
Writing these on feedback points sticky notes allows parents to see the feedback we are giving students, on a regular basis, and honors their book writing because I haven’t marked their book in any way.
Often my students do not need writing prompts. I do find that at times they are beneficial and that certain students are drawn to them. Often my students do not need writing prompts. I do find that at times they are beneficial and that certain students are drawn to them.
I personally love the word bank that is in my classroom. The pages can easily be removed for different students to use and I love that it has a wide variety of 122 different topics with kid friendly images included.
Topics include animals, food, holidays, general themes and even some personalized pages I use for specific students. If you’re interested in checking it out, click here or on the image above!
Before students send their books home, students are able to share them with the class. If they have multiple books they can pick one to share.
After they read the story we read to them the feedback from our sticky note (which we have already shared with them prior to this) so that the whole class can hear the feedback. Students learn best from each other and find inspiration from each other. This has been a huge part of the success of the writing program in our class.