Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My New Planning Process in Stages!

It's time for kindergarten writer's workshop and the students are going to try a new way of planning. I have been modeling my own stories for several days using a blank book, (they also tried this with their third grade buddies last week). I point to where my story would be, what it might say, and then with my finger draw and point to what illustrations would be included. Today is the day for students to use their own blank planning book with their knee to knee kindergarten planning pal. The planning pals have been going for a while, and we have worked out expectations and behaviors that are acceptable, but anytime you add something, like a new material to the mix, there is an opening for it to possibly fall apart for some students. Let's follow this student through his planning process. You will be able to see what worked and what did not work for him. You will notice how he recovers with re-direction and what kind of positive outcomes he accomplishes.

 Here are two students planning together. We will be following the boy in the blue shirt. Here he is talking through his story and his pal is listening. He is doing really well and is remaining on task. Then there is the transition from the pal to the drawing notebook. Below are his results.

When I first get back to him, he has drawn the picture on the left. I ask him  to tell me his story. "This is me on the monkey bars." Okay, so he has hung onto his verbal story and seems ready to try again, so I give him a new paper and he tries again. That is where the picture on the right comes in, yikes! I of course try not to disclose my disappointment, but I am frustrated by this at first. I had just talked to him, he was ready, why is it not transitioning to the page? Then I realize my mistake in the re-direction. He had held on to the verbal, but he had not held onto his visual plan. When he transitioned from the carpet to his book, he lost some of his planning on the way. This is to be expected, some kids can "hold" onto more than others. It goes back to what I have said before--I can't change someone's pace, all I can do is try to help him accomplish what he's capable of each day. 

Third try, neither of us are giving up, so we go back to the drawing board, or at least the invisible drawing board! I tell him to use my blank paper to show me his story. "Point to the paper and tell me all that I will see when I come back to check in with you." He starts to draw the monkey bars and I am again renewed with confidence that he can do this! I walk away again. (It is so hard to walk away, but it is one of the things I have learned over the years has to happen if you truly believe a child is capable of the task you are asking. It builds their independence. If they are not capable of the task, don't ask them to do it alone).

Then he goes and not only draws the monkey bars, he separates his words from his picture, organizing his page, and gets down words and letters that he knows! Wow, I was almost blown over with excitement!!

I learned a lot about this planning process. They are all benefiting from the verbal rehearsal with the blank booklet, some of them also need to visualize their plan in their drawing and writing notebook too before beginning. So, my next plan of action is to continue the blank booklet, for the talking through rehearsal. Then, as we transition to the drawing and writing notebooks, I will ask students to stop and visualize their story, what will I see when I walk over to check in?

I will keep you posted on the progress!


elsie said...

What an amazing journey for you and the student! I will be printing your post to share with kindergarten teachers who don't believe their students can work at writing independently. Thank you for sharing.

Linda B said...

I loved hearing and seeing about this journey, your story too! You are so right about the walking away. It is hard, but such a valuable gesture to the child, as in 'see, I am leaving now, confident in your ability to do this'. You are a thoughtful teacher! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This is great! I love how you included the pictures. It helps us get a clearer vision of what this writing process is like for your students.

Christy Rush-Levine said...

How rewarding! I love that you tried, tried, and tried again. All the careful planning in the world will not tell you what works; you have to dig in and see it in action. The visual is so powerful to express this guy's process and make your thought process clear.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about the process of your student and you. I've been supporting my students in coming back to stories again when their first attempt is disappointing. Your entry was another great example for me.