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Developing Writing Fluency

I was struggling with my Writer's Workshop time, thinking about how I had children with fantastic ideas, yet their writing wasn't flowing. I knew they had it in them, but I was struggling to get them past that hesitation... the fear of it not being "just right". A lot of writer's workshop time is being wasted because their writing isn't fluent. 

Developing Writing Fluency: Do your students have great ideas, but struggle to write down those ideas? A writing warm up might help!

After much thought, I remembered a writing exercise I'd done in the past at seminars and training on writing. I also thought about how I believe in a need for a warm up in all areas... reading, math, even singing and sports! 


I've used discussion as well as graphic organizers for a writing warm up. Although these definitely have value, they didn't quite do the trick, so I made these booklets. They use these booklets, and write anything they can think of for two minutes. The only rules: No erasing and they have to keep the pencil moving. If they can't think of anything, they simply write "I can't think of anything". The purpose is to get the thoughts flowing from their brain, through their fingers, onto the paper.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Warm-Up-Booklet-192620?utm_source=Developing%20Writing%20Fluency%20Blog%20Post&utm_campaign=Writing%20Warm%20Up


Here's a bonus: we have been finding that these booklets are helping the children come up with new ideas for writing!


Click here: Writer's Workshop Warm Up Booklet or click the image to download the freebie or design your own booklet!


I've been noticing a difference in their writing fluency!


Developing Writing Fluency: Do your students have great ideas, but struggle to write down those ideas? A writing warm up might help!



Lessons Learned

This is a story I often repeat to parents of my students. It's about my daughter's ice skating experience. 

Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.

When my daughter was 6 years old, we went ice skating with a couple of friends. My daughter had never skated before, so I was a little nervous about how she'd take to it.  We both laced up our skates, I took her by the hand and we both stepped onto the ice.



She started skating right away! A couple of times she started to lose her balance a little bit, but I was right by her side and helped her find her balance every time.


Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.
After a while I noticed something odd: she was no longer trying to keep her balance. That's when I realized I was doing exactly what I frequently advised parents not to do. I was catching her every time she lost her balance! I knew what I had to do.


Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.
Of course, I backed off. She fell a few times. She got right back up and skated. By the end of the day, she'd gotten her balance and had a nice rhythm in her skating stride.  She was a skater!




It was a nice reminder how parents sometimes need to let their children fall. It's definitely not easy, but it's not in the child's best interest to constantly be there to catch them. Sometimes we have to let them fall.


How do we know when to step back and let them fall?

Lesson Learned: I had a valuable lesson when I brought my daughter ice skating for the first time. This is a story I share often with parents.

Martin Luther King Jr. Books, Videos, and Reources

I love teaching my students about Martin Luther King Jr.  
He was an incredible man, and stood for peace.  


Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Although I'm giving away my age, I remember when he was shot.  I was a little too young to understand the impact at the time. (I was far more interested in the boys than the politics of the day.) Today I can't watch his speech without tears rushing down my face.  It disturbs me to think that a peaceful man who worked so hard for non-violence was killed in such a violent way.

I find literature to be a valuable part of my teaching.  I've read many books about Dr. King, and they always keep the children engaged.  He was clearly a powerful man.  Here are some good ones: (Each image is a link to Amazon.)



                                   
Click each image for a link to Amazon to learn more about that book!  A video also grabs the attention of the children. Check out this one from Brain Pop.





Or this one from YouTube:




Although his speech is kind of long for the little ones, this is the last part of that famous speech, and it's worth showing at least part of it to the children. This video from Youtube is the last part of his speech, and I think the children will understand Dr. King's passion:


Dr.  King taught the world about peace.  Here are some children's books that help with the concept of peace. 
           

I also recommend this video:

It certainly tells the story of peace that I want children to learn, and I suspect it's the peaceful world Dr. King dreamed of. Plus, the lyrics are right on the screen for the kids to sing along... over and over!

Here's one more video, a song that warms my heart! It goes right along with the teachings of Dr. King, and something children will understand:

Finally, here's one my own products - it's a freebie sorting activity that's sure to get the kids talking! And their conversations defending their opinions are amazing! Click the image for the activity Just or Unjust?

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.


Speaking of activities, I have a couple of MLK activities in this resource: Science and Social Studies Activities for January
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

It includes a close read about Dr. King.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

A mapping activity, based on important places in Dr. King's life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

And making timelines based on Dr. King's life.
Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Click any of the images above to see Science and Social Studies Printables for January! (There is other fun stuff in there, too!)

I'd love to see your ideas for MLK too!

Martin Luther King Jr. Resources: This great man represented solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. Here are several books and video suggestions to help your students learn about Dr. King.

Writer's Workshop

Have I mentioned I'm a big fan of Writer's Workshop?  I've been doing Writer's Workshop in my classroom for probably more than 30 years, and have seen a great amount of growth in the children's writing skills.
Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

I've been very lucky to have worked with several wonderful mentors who have helped me learn how the Writing Process works, and how to set it up in my classroom. I've watched some fantastic examples of writing conferences and mini lessons. I've used many materials, and have tweeked them to fit my personal style and the levels I teach. I've learned about 6 Traits as well as the Writing Process and have combined it all to fit my needs. 



In case you're not familiar with Writer's Workshop, it's about children writing what is in their hearts. It includes free writing time, conferencing with friends, conferencing with teachers, revising, proofreading, and publishing their written work.


I've been working on some materials to share with you that I've developed for Writer's Workshop in my classroom.


Click the images to see my Writer's Workshop Starter Kit:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet

 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Starter-Collection-180055?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Writer%27s%20workshop%20Packet

Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Horizontal Paper.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writers-Workshop-Horizontal-Paper-180061?utm_source=elementarymatters%20blog&utm_campaign=Horizontal%20Paper
Click the image to see my Writer's Workshop Vertical Paper.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Vertical-Paper-180067?utm_source=Elementary%20Matters%20Blog&utm_campaign=Vertical%20Paper


Click the image to see my very favorite book on Writer's Workshop. (It's a link to Amazon.)




Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

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