It is day four of teaching first grade, and one tool enables the kids to be more independent writers – Seesaw. I can’t describe how much I love this platform. Right before writing workshop ends, students log into Seesaw. First, they take a photo of what they wrote, and then they read their writing.
Now that students have that down, we’ve moved onto the next step – recording their writing plans. Yes, that’s right. These six-year-olds decide what they need to do next and recording it. They say, “My next step is to _______________________.”
Right now, students are writing how-to books, so some of their next steps include:
- creating illustrations that teach readers
- adding labels to illustrations
- writing steps
- adding more information to a step
- beginning a new piece
Here is where the “independence” comes in. When writing workshop begins the next day, students start by listening to what they recorded the day before and then begin writing. No more, “I can’t read my writing” or “I’m not sure what to do.” Students transition independently between their iPads and their writing folders. It seems that listening to their own voice brings them back to yesterday’s writing workshop and helps them know just what to do.
Now, I have more options too. I can choose to listen to their recording at the end of the day and take conferring notes. Or, if I don’t have time, I can approve all of their posts by clicking one button to set them up for the next day. Either way, the kids are independent and I have more time to confer with individual writers. This process is a beautiful thing. Now, if I could only figure out how to remember to take attendance.