First grade writing is fabulous. Our most recent nonfiction unit involved the series of True or False books. If you haven’t seen these, they are worth checking out. You can see many of the ones my first graders wrote at our class blog. We created those in Pixie but some students wanted to continue writing them. This boy wrote one in class about dragons. The book is great but these two pages were my favorite. Somehow the addition of the solar system to the sentence just raises it to a higher level.
We’ve also been working on some narrative writing. We’ve used a story mountain (beginning with an opening that typically introduces the characters and setting, followed by events climbing up the mountain about the complication, leading to a turning point at which things change, followed by the resolution heading back down a bit). The most challenging part for most of my first graders is the events leading up. They usually begin the story, explain the problem or complication, and then solve it.
One I conferenced with today had written something along the lines of, “We couldn’t ever get to sleep.” Then, on the next page, “We finally falled asleep.” Complication. Resolution.
We’ve been using fiction for our narrative study, but yesterday I suggested that they might want to tell a personal story that fits with the story mountain. My goal was to allow them a venue for sharing some stories from spring break. I shared one from our spring break to get us started. Then they told stories with a partner before going off to write.
This friend had a story about roller skating. Although there was a problem I didn’t think the story was really building on it as he read it to me. Then we got to this page.
I couldn’t say anything. This was the turning point in the story. Yup.