I teach Foundational English Language Development (ELD) to grade 3/4/5/6 students and I absolutely love it. I develop a really strong bond with my students and I love helping them feel successful as they gain more and more confidence in their new language.
We are in the middle of a narrative writing unit based on the Fairytale structure. I feel like I am involved in two SoL challenges at the moment, as I am reading and commenting on stories all day! I have talked to all my students about the SoL challenge and how important it is to try to write something every day. I’m excited to see that the majority of them have embraced this practice with enthusiasm.
I only have two students who are behaving as reluctant writers at the moment. To support them I ask them questions to pull details out of their brains. They tell me their stories orally and I write the story in chunks on mini-whiteboards, getting them to copy the story chunks down as I walk around and help other students. Using this method, one of the reluctant writers wrote a story about a beaver who lived in a jello house (clearly borrowed from CWACOM). He said the house “smelled like freshly washed hair” and moved “like pigs rolling.” With a little support he could come up with beautiful, crazy and unique imagery like that. Having experienced that success yesterday, today he picked up a pencil with no prompting or support from me.
I admit that with writing projects I almost always forget to include sharing time between students. SoL has really hammered home the importance of being able to share a story and know that someone else will experience what you have created. Today I told my students about how nice it was to have other teachers read my stories. I asked them to share their stories so they could have the same happy experience. I didn’t give them lots of structure or question prompts or two stars and a wish requirements – I just wanted them to have the experience of sharing their story with a peer and hearing a “Good job!” or “That was so nice!” My other reluctant writer – who I should add is also a reluctant speaker most of the time – was so excited with the sharing that he read his story aloud twice, once to a small group and once to the whole class.
So SoL has given me joy and greater confidence and by extension it has given my students enriched opportunities and experiences. And it’s only Day 7 so I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month will bring!