Two of my favorite ways to get kids to write like this:
is to use literature and list making.
I almost always start off writing workshop in the very beginning of the school year with Fireflies (Brinckloe). Fireflies is a story about a boy who goes out in the summer to catch fireflies with the neighborhood kids. Like all kids who have had this experience, the boy puts the fireflies in a mason jar to save them, but as they fall to the bottom of the jar as the night wears (wares?) on, he realizes that it might be a better idea to let them go.
So, I read this book to the kids, and then ask them if any of them have ever caught fireflies. Everyone raises their hands. I then ask what other kinds of things they do in the summer. We compose a list of all these ideas (you can see ours on the anchor chart at the top of this page): getting ice cream, going to Six Flags, taking a boat ride at the lake, going to Millennium Park and playing in the fountains, festivals, carnivals, sleepovers with cousins, swimming in the pool, playing in the park....the list goes on and on.
We then move into the "Rehearsal" phase of writing, where kids get to choose any idea from the list and tell a partner sitting by them all about what happened.
It takes about three weeks worth of sessions like this, and lots of great books and many different lists, but then this funny thing happens. The kids begin to love to write. You have to dedicate your time and energy, and it's best to write along with the kids and share your writing too....but it's so amazing when the kids start writing in their free time, just because they have so many stories to tell.
In my next blog, I will share my most favorite beginning-of-the-year stories that I read with my students. They mimic their daily lives - fights with brothers and sisters, friendship and bullies, stories of pets, struggling in school....the list goes on and on. Follow my blog to stay updated with great ideas for your Reading and Writing Workshops!
Have a blast as you celebrate 2014! I'm so ready for it to begin!