Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing about a topic (No Pink Blueberries)

I love when Kinders begin writing more than one sentence!  There comes a point in the year when their writing really takes off and they will write three or more sentences independently about a topic.  But with that comes the random fact writing.  It really hit me hard a couple of weeks ago when we were writing about plants.  Here's what one student wrote- their topic was "fruit".  "Baby blueberries are pink.  Seeds are inside fruit.  Fruit grows from the flower.  We eat fruits like bananas."
All true- and all facts about fruit.  However, I cringe a little reading it because the facts are so disjointed. So, my question I pondered was- Can kinders write sentences that all flow together or am I asking too much?  I decided to test it out!  When I taught first grade we used a "flee" map to organize our topic- it's a Write from the Beginning thinking map.  Here's a basic sample of what a flee map might look like.

Most of my kinders are no where near ready for this but could I adapt a little to fit kinders?  I felt like a beginning sentence was a good place to start.  The beginning sentence set the topic and would keep the pink blueberry sentences from occurring.  So I made this.
Click on the link to get a copy.  Flee Map Kinder  The top box is designed for the beginning sentence and the big boxes below it are meant for pictures and key words.  My plan was to begin teaching this with everyone using the same beginning sentence and everyone deciding together on the 3 key ideas.  Then they would use this pre-writing organizer to write their own sentences about the topic.
We're learning about community workers so we tried it with a book about doctors.  We came up with a very basic beginning sentence.  Doctors help people.  Our details were about how doctors help healthy people, sick people and people in emergencies.  Here are some of their flee maps.

And here are some of their writing samples.
 Doctors help people.  Healthy people go to the doctor to stay healthy.  When people are sick they take medicine.  In emergencies doctors give them band-aids. (I love the speech bubble!)

Doctors help people. People get shots when they're healthy.  Doctors listen to your heart.  In emergencies and your bone is broken, you get a cast.

They have a long way to go and I am sure I will get many more "pink blueberry" sentences, but using the flee map to help them organize their ideas is a good beginning step.

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