Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sharing Our Writing

Last week my class wrapped up a writing unit on experience writing. I asked each child to choose one book to publish from the collection of books they had written during the unit. I told children that we would plan a time when other children in the class would get to read their published book.

I did a few things to prepare for share day. First,
because the children would be reading the books of
other children in the class, I typed their books. I felt that it would be easier for other children to read if they didn't have to try to decipher invented spellings. I also have several children with handwriting that is difficult to read. Second, in Ann Marie Corgill's book Of Primary Importance, she uses a form during her share time so that children can comment on the writing of other children in the class. The form looks like a t-chart. On the left side the student who is commenting writes their name and on the right side of the chart they make a comment about the student's book that they are reading. I planned to have children use this form to give feedback to fellow authors in the class.

On share day I had students put their published book on their desk with a blank comment sheet next to it. I told students that they would be moving from desk to desk. They were to sit down at any empty desk that was available, read the book that was sitting out and write a comment on the comment sheet for the author. When they were making comments, they were to keep in mind the guidelines we use during our share time in Writer's Workshop.

I turned on an Enya CD and let them begin. Once they got the idea of what I was asking them to do, it was so amazing! They were so engaged in what they were doing and they took it so seriously. They didn't utter a sound. Sharing this way was such a departure from my usual, "Let's go down the hall and you can read your book to a kid in the kindergarten class." When I have kids share that way, I always see one kid reading and the other child is looking around the room. The room is usually so noisy with conversation, I always wonder if anyone can hear anything anyway. This share day was so calm and children were so engaged in what they were doing that it gave me goosebumps. They were thinking thoughtfully about what they were reading.