I WAITED, afraid a little, but I waited anyway. I started the year with a draft book during writer's workshop--then I started over, giving them drawing books, knowing that at some point I would get to where I am today. Today I am so happy I waited; that is my present!
Yesterday I pulled out their draft books (the one's they began the year with) and re-introduced them to their new friend. We talked about how it was really very similar to their drawing and writing notebook. They could talk first, they could draw, they could color and add detail, and they could write down what they know. And, they did. Next step: I pulled two samples of draft book writing for my writing model today...two students that I noticed did what I asked--"Write down what you know!"
Today's lesson was about "valuing where we are." Each of us is in a different place as we are learning. Some of us know some words and letters, some know how to tell a story, and some of us know how to draw pictures with details. My two samples demonstrated different ways of showing what students know. It was a great moment when we noticed that one student had written the word "to" in his draft book, using the correct letters, and another student had writing "tu" because right now that is what she knows about the word "to." Following the lesson the students were validated and it really showed in their work. Students were not afraid to work on writing today (like I had sometimes felt in past years), they were not afraid to put down what they know (because writer's workshop is now less overwhelming to them)! I valued what each one could do instead of pushing them to frustration.