Writing Folders are a gift. Seriously. When my kindergartners returned from winter break they had one final gift to open. It was their writing folders. By the time, they get their folders they are ready for them. We have practiced writing and learned procedures for our writing time. We use January to solidify these routines. Daily we
practice taking out our writing folders, writing for the day, and putting it away. We discuss what my expectations are and how to use each part of the writing folder. Let me walk you through the folder.
Writing Folders: Pocket Labels
I use a 3-prong folder with pockets in the front and the back.
To make sure there is no confusion, the front and back pockets are labeled.
The front pocket is labeled “Works in Progress” and the students learn to put their writing in this pocket while they are still working on it.
Before students write their own stories, I am doing writing on chart paper while they are writing (copying) on paper.
Students walk through a daily process for writing that includes storing their writing day-to-day.
Creating this habit while it’s a whole group activity, supports the students independent activities. The back pocket is just as important as the front pocket. I include a label that reads, “Completed Works.” Students put their “completed works” in this pocket.
When they have 3 completed stories, they are allowed to publish. Students are allowed to choose their favorite of the three stories and re-write the stories on “special” paper. “Special” paper is simply paper with a decorative edge or design. When they choose the story for publishing, the others go home.
Writing Folders: Writing Ideas
Once students are asked to write independently, they need to be allowed to CHOOSE their topic.
Providing topic cards, picture word books, and writing lists, students can choose 2 or 3 topics.
This sheet can be kept in the front pocket…behind the works in progress.
As they finish a story, the student moves the writing to back pocket and the writing ideas page takes center stage again.
Students can either choose a topic on the existing list or find new topics.
I have found the more they are allowed to choose what they are writing about, the more they write. However, they can only spend 1 writing day on choosing a topic.
At the end of Day 1, they have to have a paper with a title ready to go.
Writing Folders: Sound Chart
I’m kind of a freak about sound charts, as you know with the my previous posts.
Emergent writers need something to hang their sounds on…and I want to be in charge of the connections.
I want short vowels. I want hard c and hard g.
We practice these sounds every day and they are “experienced” in using this chart to stretch words and write sounds through our whole group writing lessons.
There are sound charts all over the room, but having another sound chart easily available is optimal. As the students progress from this initial sound chart, I like to add a blends linking chart. This could also be an easy idea for writing topics.
I had a friend in kindergarten who had her students write story for each letter of the alphabet. They had a collection of 26 stories at the end of 2 months. They were excited to share their Collections of Stories. For more ideas about using a sound chart, check out these SOUND CHART POSTS.
Writing Folders: Big 3
Another tool we use ALL THE TIME is the BIG 3.
We have made a giant anchor chart containing a large #3 and we equate each point on the 3 with a mechanic in writing.
The top point reminds students to start with a capital.
The middle point reminds students to put spaces between their words.
And finally, the bottom point reminds students to include an end mark.
We sing the song every day.
We have hand motions for capitals at the beginning (arms raised high), spaces in the middle (arms stretching out to their side creating space), and an end mark at the end (a fist against your palm).
I like including a Big 3 rubric in the writing folder as another reminder for students. Providing the rubric also allows students to self-evaluate their writing. If you are working with a student and another student is ready for you, you can ask them to use their Big 3 and check each sentence while they are waiting.
Writing Folders: Personal Word Wall
Including a personal word wall allows students to be independent and grow as writers and readers. I include all the words introduced in the first and second nine weeks.
At the beginning of the third nine weeks, I switch out the word walls to include all of the words that will be introduced that 9 weeks.
I do the same at the beginning of the 4th nine weeks.
I can also add words as students ask for them. I try to add sight words not topic specific words.
The word walls should be useful with all writing and I don’t want to fill the word wall with story-specific words that won’t help them beyond that one story.
I hope this gives you ideas for your writing folders for the second semester of kindergarten.
I do caution you to not add these things to the writing folder until they have been introduced and practiced whole group and with guided practice.