First Graders are Writing Books!

by Michael Porter
One of the most important skills that students work on at JCDS is writing and some of the most important first steps in their writing education happen in first grade. 
While they have mastered the alphabet, basic words, and simple sentences by the end of kindergarten, in first grade, their writing starts to go places!

"This is our students' first time writing chapter books, so they have learned how to make a table of contents," said 1st grade teacher Emily Mills. "Making tables of contents and writing chapters has helped students organize their thoughts."

How do 6 and 7-year-olds organize their thoughts and ideas for a chapter book? Their teachers have a system!
"They often need support realizing the depth of their knowledge," explained Ms. Mills. "When brainstorming a topic to write about, we teach students to first talk about the topic, and use their fingers to count as they work to teach a classmate or teacher 5 things they know about the subject. If they can do this, it is a good fit for them to write about!"
The Writers Workshop lessons throughout this unit have focused on many other strategies as well, such as using comparisons, "twin sentences," strong introductions and conclusions, and adding detailed pictures with captions to teach the reader more!

According to Kate Krawiec, Lower Elementary Team Lead, first graders start to explore different genres of writing.
"They work to plan out their story, write and sketch their ideas, edit with peers, and publish their final pieces," said Ms. Krawiec. "From there they will build on those skills."
First graders produce examples of narrative, opinion, non-fiction, and fantasy genres. Earlier this year, they did an author study of Julia Donaldson and wrote reviews of her books.
Communication skills and sharing with others are some of the most important life skills that first graders learn at JCDS.