As we are quickly approaching the new school year (crazy, I know), as early childhood teachers we want to begin thinking on how we can build on what we have already done, make it better and engage the children with much more anticipation for learning. The key is your passion as a teacher and the difference you make is up to you. You have the power to change what is going on across your state, in your classroom and in the minds of your children and families that you serve.
The key to a successful writing-rich class is inspirational materials! What better way to motivate children to write than to inspire them.
I want you to understand that if you engulf them with print, access to materials and different mediums and the time to initiate, engage and complete, they will be great writers.
Writing is a process and if you want them to be able to write you must start with the scribble! Scribbling is the first attempt of object to symbol relationship. They may see a cat in their little mind and then write the word cat in a scribble. As they are thinking it, they will write it. They may even draw the cat (which you may not be able to see it) and then write it (again, you may not see it).
As they begin to go through the different writing stages, you will begin to see symbols forming into actual letters. You will be able to begin decoding their writing.
|cookie sheet micro scaffold for one child|
Above in the pictures I have taken the blue rice medium, paired it with magnetic alphabet pieces, word family cards that they can use to spell out words and then write them down on their notebook.
I also want to share with you a secret! Anything can become a writing center and it can be anywhere in the room. Other than you standard, stationary writing center have mobile writing centers that can go anywhere in the room and even outside. This encourages more writing and more creativity from the children. Below I have taken a box from a computer keyboard that is very sturdy and made it into a mobile writing center.
I love the magnetic drawing boards. These are so inexpensive and you can get them just about anywhere. I like to pair them with other materials. Below I have paired them with cards and trays. This activity is scaffold for two children with two of each materials.
Another way to encourage children to write is to write letters to each other, family members, etc. We all know they like to write letters! So come up with creative ways to implement letter writing. Here I have used a Purex All In One detergent box stuffed with envelopes and used as a mobile mail box around the room. There are so many things that you could do with this in your classroom. Get really creative with getting the children excited about send some mail!
There so much more to say about writing, so I will leave you with these thoughts. Surround your preschoolers with materials in their classroom that they can't resist. Be creative and have a well-balanced method of open-ended and teacher directed writing. Please don't ever make children sit for long periods of time and be forced to write. You want them to come back day after day with a motivation and persistence to write. Go non-traditional, think outside the box and give them the support that they need to become successful writers.
Until next time, go teach the children.