The first graders at Gurney Elementary are beginning a “small moment” unit of writing where they tell stories about their own lives. Currently, students are thinking and telling their story on pages using sketching and writing.
Teachers are following the Lucy Calkins writing program to teach this unit. This program guides teachers in the writer’s workshop model to write, confer, and talk with their students. The goals of the program are to foster high-level thinking, develop and refine strategies for content area writing, support greater independence and fluency, and conduct strategic performance assessments to help monitor student’s progress. It also allows teachers to teach opinion, information, and narrative writing with increasing complexity.
Four Gurney Elementary teachers were trained in this program over the summer at Teacher’s College at Columbia University. They are currently sharing knowledge and information they learned with other teachers.
First grade teacher Stephanie Malley said, “It’s so fun to read about what is happening in our first graders’ lives. Some story topics were birthdays, a dog’s teeth being pulled, waking up being grumpy, playing pirates, and playing Minecraft.”