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Interactive Writing: Classroom Signs, Charts, EVERYTHING!

I love interactive writing. I love it because it allows me to tuck a plethora of instruction in a short amount of time. I love it because it allows students to feel true ownership over their learning. I love it because it's engaging and fun. But most of all, I love it because my core belief is this is their classroom and not mine and interactive writing allows students to put their voice and hands on the creation of their space.

I get a lot of questions about the interactive writing I've been sharing (sidenote - there's so much sharing over on Instagram - don't miss it). So let me explain in the best way I know how - bullet points!

  • While much of my classroom will be empty, there will be things up! An alphabet chart will be up, but we'll replace/cover the illustrations the first week or so. A calendar will be up, but we'll build the numbers together that first month and replace the month/days/etc. the first month. You don't have to have a blank room, but as you put things up, think about what kids could revise or replace with their own work the first few weeks of school. These are perfect opportunities to dig into important aspects of the room.

  • Most of what I've been sharing was done in the spring of first grade. These are not kindergarten writers, but first grade writers.

  • YES, I will be doing this in kindergarten and YES at the beginning of kindergarten. Matt, but HOW?

  • Interactive Writing, by the nature of its name, is an experience where teacher and students work together. At the beginning of kindergarten, the teacher (you) will be doing a lot more of the heavy lifting and writing. That being said, students will be sharing the pen.

  • At the beginning of kindergarten, I know there will be students who can write their names. Those children can help with any/all letters that appear in their name!

  • Some children may only know the first letter of their name. Guess what, if Chris only knows how to write a C - Chris is coming up to write C's! (and probably all the other letters in Chris.)

  • For non-writers, there are options! I can write the letter(s) with a yellow marker and the student can trace them. We can write letters hand over hand.

  • This doesn't always happen in the whole group! Often we'll work on parts/pieces in small groups and then put the chart together as a whole group.

Why is this so important to me? I want students to know, from day one, that their work has as much, if not more value, than mine. I want them to understand our classroom space is a place to take risks and that writing is often a messy, rarely perfect process.

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