Pens are busy. A productive buzz is in the air. Off-task behaviors are practically nil. All is well with the world. I love days like this in Writer's Workshop. (Does anyone else feel like Writer's Workshop sets the temperature for the rest of the day?) Anyway, why today of all days? Read on to find out.
We've been revising old pieces for a few weeks now. Look here to read an earlier post about our revisions. On this particular day, as Lucy Calkins suggested, we tried something new. The premise is that a writer can revise a piece by transforming it into something altogether different. During my mini-lesson, I quickly modeled how I could turn my small moment into a letter, poem, newspaper article, and How-to. Even though the lesson is simply introductory and not meant to produce mastery, it's amazing to see what they produce with such little background knowledge. When I first saw this lesson several years ago, I thought, "Really? First graders can do this?"
As Donald Graves says, "As every study we've conducted over the last ten years has shown, we've underestimated what children can do."
Sure thing. First graders can do this and do it remarkably well. Check it out.
Dakota's piece about her bunny turned into a helpful How-To.
(Translation: How to Clean Bunny Poop - Get a shovel. Get ready to scoop. Scoop the poop.)
Luke had written about dumpster diving and revised this small moment into a How-To. (I'd love to hear the story behind the story.)
(Translation: How to Dumpster Dive - First you get something to get on. Second get up in the thing you're getting in. Third, sink in.)
Andee revised a small moment about her dog into a letter, poem, and newspaper article.
(Letter Translation: Dear dog, Come back. I miss you. Please, please come back. I really miss you. Love, Andee)
(Poem Translation: My dog, my dog ran away, it came back with food yay.)
(Newspaper Article Translation: At 5:00 my dog ran away and then it came back with puppies and food.)
Garrett revised his piece about golfing into a poem, How-to, and newspaper article.
(Poem Translation: Golf balls, golf balls, thick and round. Golf balls, golf balls, why are you so hard to hit? If a pro golfer comes to you will you be scared? Golf balls, golf balls.)(How-To Translation: How to Hit a Golf Ball - First, you grab the club. You get ready to hit. You make the ball go flying.)
(Newspaper Translation: One day I went out to hit some balls, but when I hit one I think I hit it a little too hard. If anyone sees that ball ever again, give it to me.)
Katie revised a shark story into a How-To. (Mind you, girl sharks and boy sharks are not drawn the same.)
(Translation: How to Write a Shark - First write half of the shark. Second, add the eyes. If it's a girl, put it with eyelashes. Third, add the mouth and the nose and the gills.)
Jackson H. had written about going to the pumpkin patch and revised it into a poem. (I think I've got a poet on my hands.)
(Translation: Pumpkin, pumpkin seed. Deep, deep, deep in the ground shaped like a football.)
"Data show that most children entering first grade (about ninety percent) believe they can write." - Donald Graves
I'm so glad my kids still think that.