Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing and Drawing

I've been thinking a lot of about ways to incorporate more writing practice in the classroom.  As with most lessons, I also strive to provide materials which complement the full three year age range of the classroom.  The following idea came to me after reading Paula Polk Lillard's Montessori in the Classroom:  A Teacher's Account of How Children Really Learn.

One way to promote writing in the classroom is through drawing and storytelling.  I've taken into consideration that my students very much enjoy free drawing. Wanting to encourage this creative process as well as provide purposeful writing activities, I have set up a series of papers in the Language area writing shelves.

Markers, Marker Papers (in clear divider with pencils behind); Story Papers (in trays).
The first set of papers is what I am calling 'Marker Paper,' as described in Lillard's book.  This is a small piece of specially lined paper with space on top for a drawing, as seen in the photo above next to the markers.  Behind this paper, is a smaller piece with only the lines (no space for a drawing).  This is the 'Teacher Paper.'  Using the markers designated only for this lesson, the student will draw a picture in the space provided on the Marker Paper.  We will encourage the children to draw only one item/object in the space because there will only be enough space on the lines for one word.  Depending on the child's ability, the word can then be written underneath on the lines.  When necessary, the teacher can write the word on the smaller sized Teacher Paper with the child watching.  From here, the child can then copy the word onto their own paper using the teacher's writing as a guide.

Teacher Paper on the right; Marker Paper on the left.

The next set of papers is for Story Writing.  These are similar to the Marker Papers, only larger to accomodate a story.

Teacher Paper for Story Writing on the right;  Story Paper on the left.
And if the stories get lengthy, we have this extra, lined paper!
One aspect of these lessons which I very much appreciate is the opportunity for the child to observe the adult in the action of writing.  Furthermore, the students see for themselves and experience the joy which comes from seeing their thoughts represented on paper through the written word.

My plan is to collect the children's work so that they will be able to make little booklets with the Marker Papers.  I hope to collect the stories in a special folder so that the students may practice reading their own work as well as read their stories to others.  

If anyone is interested or wants to know, I bought these papers from Golden Educational Center.

1 comment:

  1. I can't even remember how I found your blog, but I am glad I did. While I am not a Montessori teacher, I think we have lots in common. I love this idea of Marker Paper and I have several students who would benefit from this kind of work.

    Can you tell me what size paper you are using?

    Thanks for taking the time to share all you do!