The other day a student came up to me and said, “Here I wrote this for you.” It was a picture of a rainbow and a sunny sky. I smiled to myself. It was only two days in to teaching Writer’s Workshop, and this student had remembered one of my mantras: “Writing is when you put your ideas down on paper.”
For First and Second graders almost any attempt at putting a pencil or pen to paper is writing. That’s why you get a five minute monologue when you ask them what is happening in their picture. As the students embark on writing throughout the year they will go through several developmental phases.
1. Drawing is a Motor Activity-Students in this stage usually have scribbles or marks on a page
2. Drawings Convey Meaning- Students can tell you about their pictures and provide details to what is happening. In this stage different parts of the paper convey different parts of the story itself. Sometimes “words” are added that may or may not support the story.
3. Labeling Their Drawings-The previous two stages are developmental most kids go through them. Not all kids will choose to label naturally. This stage is more directly taught and modeled. Students start to label their pictures and begin to put letter to letter correspondence to the parts of their pictures.
4. Writing Sentences-Students begin to write strings of words that come together to create sentences.
5. Writing Stories-Students begin to write/draw multiple pages. The pages start to contain structure and include details.