Beginning Interactive Writing - Tools to Get Started
Where to Start?
This is the second article for using interactive writing in the kindergarten classroom. To find a definition and an overview of the interactive writing process, please begin with the first article in the series.
To begin using the process in the classroom, we will begin with these important tools:
- Materials needed for the lesson, and
- Management of an interactive writing lesson plan
For each interactive writing lesson plan, you will need the following materials:
Laminated alphabet charts and teacher's alphabet poster.
A black marker, chart paper, a pointer stick, and correction tape (if not available, blank, white labels will work fine).
In the beginning of the school year I write a black line for each word in the sentence at the bottom of the chart paper. Later in the year, I prepare the chart paper ahead of time by drawing one black line on the bottom of the paper and teach using finger spaces between words.
How to Manage a Lesson on Interactive Writing
Prepare kindergarten students for interactive writing from the first day of school. Laminate alphabet charts for each student in the class and have a poster sized one displayed for you to reference.
Bring students to the rug area (a circle or on lines will work, I prefer lines because that is my style). Tell them that this is a very important day because it is the first day of interactive writing. Explain that interactive writing means writing together, and sharing in a writing piece as a class.
Show them the alphabet charts and explain how they are to be handled, passed out and placed on the floor in front of them (no longer to be picked up until the writing lesson is over) and hands are folded in laps. Explain that the rule is, if the alphabet cards are mishandled or picked up during the lesson, then they will be taken and the student will watch your chart. Bring forth a student to model proper handling of the chart, putting it on the floor in front of them and folding hands. Then explain how they are to be passed out and model proper passing.
Once all students have their charts in front of them we start by saying (not singing) our ABC's, pointing to each letter of the alphabet with our magic pointer finger. Next we say the beginning sound of each letter on the chart and point to the picture on the chart that has the beginning sound. For example, A is for apple, a, a, a, B is for balloon, b, b, b... and so on through the alphabet. Now it is time to construct our text. Children keep the alphabet charts as a reference to use throughout the lesson.
Once you have these materials ready and have practiced how to do the lesson, then begin the teaching. Practice as often as you think is necessary before beginning the lesson.