As I’ve watched my kindergarten students grow from afar, I’ve been working to create more rehearsal opportunities in their writing. I know how important rehearsal is for a young writer, but teaching remotely creates some obstacles. It also, more recently, has presented some opportunities.
When we returned to learning after the winter break, I decided to deconstruct the places I was using rehearsal and think about what types of rehearsal were suiting my students best. I wanted to consider how I could more efficiently use rehearsal while also urging writers to take this on with more independence. Often rehearsal is overlooked by a young writer and requires prompting when it is not part of a regular writing routine. Since we would be revisiting our routines, this was a great time for me to put a focus back on the rehearsal work writers needed to do.
While I deconstructed what rehearsal entails, I started to imagine how parts fit together and how these parts build upon one another.
In the early weeks of January, I emphasized some unstructured talk and re-launched writing workshop with a mini show and tell style unit. We practiced touching pages, telling stories across our hands, and repeating sequences.
In a face-to-face setting, I can support students by adding structure to their writing with lines representing the words they are rehearsing. Since this is challenging in a remote setting, I decided the alternative was for students to listen and pause videos of their own rehearsals to capture a few words at a time.
All of this was in an effort to free up the minds of little writers to do the hard work of recording the letters and sounds they were hearing and words they already know.
The goal of rehearsal is to support students in structuring their thinking so they can more automatically think and then write!
Take a look at these kindergarten writers and how their video rehearsals helped them to write and say more!
Progressing in this way is dependent on many factors. Certainly, the students’ confidence and skill level with letter formation and sounds, their knowledge of their topic, and their understanding of words and letters play a role.
With a recent resurgence of focus on rehearsal, I am finding students are working on saying more and writing longer. This is the goal I continue to keep at my center. Teaching kindergarten students to believe in themselves as writers, take chances, and say more is the ultimate goal. Any step closer to this is worth the time. What work would you include within the practices of writing workshop with your young writers?
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.