The students have been learning about poetry these past few weeks so you (moms and/or grandmas) should expect to get a little treat this weekend. They’ve worked hard on this writing project so make sure to discuss the creative process with him/her.
As a complement to this poetry unit, I encourage you to take some time to read poems together, as a family. Poems don’t have to be formal or abstract to be enjoyable. Pull out your old records and listen to the songs that made (and still make!) you smile. Look for metaphors and similes. You’ll be surprised to see what your child can discover on his/her own.
What can you do to help your child with his/her writing?
This is a question that comes up regularly. Teaching how to write is one of the most difficult tasks there is. At least it was for me when I started teaching.
Whenever I hear this question, I often want to ask a few more in return.
“What do you do on your side to support your child with his/her writing?”
“What kind of writing do you do at home to be a good role model to your child?”
“What kind of attitude do you have towards writing?”
“How was teaching taught to you when you were a kid?”
Giving you advice on the matter is not easy either. I’ve tried to come up with a few important ideas for you to remember. I hope it helps!
1) Make sure your child has a real audience if he/she is writing at home. Thank you notes, persuasive messages, letters to a hero, advertisements, postcards/ecards and emails to family members, all these are great ideas. Don’t overdo it but make it regular so that it can become a habit.
2) Publish your child’s work! The students have a Storybird** account and can also post their personal writing on their own blog. Take advantage of it! As long as no private info is being shared, I will approve the work to be posted.
**This story was written by my friend’s daughter, who is in Grade 6.
3) Plan the work before writing a first draft. No one will build a house without drawing a plan first. The same goes with writing. The following sites are helpful when planning.
Bubbl.us (I already set up an account for each student)
4) Write in steps. Don’t try to do everything in one session. Revising and editing the work is as important as writing the first draft.
5) Avoid doing the work for your child or fixing every little mistake you see. Every year, I notice that the writing that gets done at home doesn’t always reflect what the students will do at school. It’s ok to help your child when writing but please, don’t correct everything. I can tell if the work has been worked by you. How many of us like to have our work completely transformed when we submit something to a boss or a colleague?
When I mark my students’ writing, here are my guidelines. These can also be useful next time you work with your child at home.
1. I never correct everything. Wanting to fix every little issue only kills a child’s desire to write (and mine too if someone proofreads my work!). Nothing will ever be perfect and we have to accept this. Instead of wanting to fix everything that your child writes, focus on the positive and highlight one thing you like about his/her writing. Giving a little nudge is ok too but don’t overdo it. The positive must outweigh the negative. I know it’s hard at times but it’s possible.
2. I try to pick one thing to focus on. And believe me, spelling (even though I think knowing how to spell is important) never comes at the top of my list! To help you with this process, I encourage you to take a look at the BC Performance Standards. These performance standards are being used by teachers across the province and are extremely helpful when wanting to see where one stands. Select one aspect of writing and focus on it. Style (vocabulary) can be a fun one to explore as a family. Pick a word of the day and play with it. Explore words from the same family and compare adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs.
This is an example of what I’m talking about.
Book Club Update: Ten students came unprepared for our first Book Club meeting Thursday afternoon. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. To make this experience fair for everyone, I rescheduled the meeting for Monday. In the meantime, everyone is asked to add a comment to another group member’s blog post, following the strategies taught in this short video. You child has also received information about this on Edmodo.
Reading to Someone: Yesterday, the students reviewed important strategies when reading aloud to each other. They are currently working on being more quiet when reading in class so that I can spend more “one on one” time with each one of them. Please note that these strategies can also easily be used at home when you read together. Have a discussion with your child about this too. I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two!
That’s all I have to say for now. I hope my ideas will help some of you! Happy writing (and reading)!