One of the many charts I made, with the help of some wonderful Kindergarten teachers, while I was taking Kristi Mraz’s chart-making class at the July Writing Institute was a scaffold to get Kindergarten students ready to write an all-about book. Betsy Engel, who will be teaching Kindergarten in Manhattan this-coming school year, shared a song called “Say, Sketch, and Write” with our small group. This song, whose exact tune I can’t recall (more on that later in this post), reminds the youngest writers of the process they should go through before they attempt to get their words down on a page.
Why “say, sketch, and write?” Well, first you want to encourage students to rehearse their writing. Hence, you can encourage them to talk through or “say” their story to someone else. Next, children are encouraged to “sketch” the parts on different pages of their stapled booklets. Finally, once the writing is mapped out through the drawings, children can begin to “write” the words down that describe the sketches they drew.
You’ll notice there are sticky notes that run down the right side of the chart. They have a purpose. If you’re conferring with a student who has skipped part of the process, you can walk over to the chart with them, review it, and then give them one of the sticky notes to take back to their writing spot. For instance, if a child went from say to write, without sketching, you could confer into the importance of sketching as a way to get ready to write and then have him/her keep the “sketch” sticky note at their writing spot as a concrete reminder to do that step before they move on to writing.
Kristi, the section leader, was walking around while everyone was creating charts on this particular day. She noticed this one and Betsy sang her the “Say, Sketch, and Write” Song. Kristi had a similar song, with similar words, to the tune of K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty.” That’s a tune nearly everyone knows, right? If you’re considering creating a chart like this for the purpose of encouraging your students to get ready to write, then try putting the words on the chart to the tune of “Shake Your Booty.” The lyrics could go like this:
Say, say, say-
Sketch, sketch, sketch-
Write your story,
Write your story.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).