Today’s View From My Window focuses on writing across the curriculum
As you are aware, Mr. Probsting, Westfield’s Head of School from 1974-2013 passed away earlier this week. Among his many gifts to the school was his fierce belief that every student had a voice, had important things to say, and needed the tools to communicate their ideas. At a time when education was focused on testing and memorizing, Mr. Probsting and the WFS teachers were helping students learn to write and come to enjoy the act and art of writing. In this spirit, I share with you a brief window into what students are writing about this week.
Our youngest students in Preschool are developing fine motor skills through learning to hold crayons correctly. They are choosing the colors they most want to for their images. These early tasks help them develop confidence in their creativity, and the muscles and dexterity that will support them as writers.
Kindergarten students are telling stories through pictures. This week they have been writing about themselves as members of their families. Mrs. Olsen helps them think about details they might add and colors that help capture the way they feel. Over the course of the year, they will come to add words and sentences to their stories. For these youngest writers, expressing the ideas is the goal, correctly spelled words or sentence structure come later.
First Grade students have been writing in their journals. Teacher Fozia gives them prompts for their journals such as, “If I were an animal I would be ….. “ They are also writing about their read-aloud books. Today they are explaining why they think one of the crayons left in 'The Day the Crayons Quit' by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. Why did the pink crayon quit or the blue crayon cry or the orange crayon hide?
Second-grade students are working on writing mechanics this week, to support writing their ideas next week. They are thinking through the differences and uses of sentences that make a statement and sentences that ask a question.
Third-grade and fourth-grade students are writing true stories. One third-grade student was writing about their dog in his journal while another student described what happened when his legos died. Both students proudly showed me pages and pages of stories they had written since the start of school. Fourth-grade students are learning about different ways of brainstorming before they write. They are creating visual maps of their neighborhoods and homes. From these detailed maps, each student will create a story from an aspect of their own map.
After reading several short stories, Mrs. Parry’s sixth-grade students are writing their own short stories. Each student has chosen a shoe. (Now I know why these shoes are in the classroom!) Their assignment is to imagine the owner of the shoe and write a creative short story about that well-imagined being.
Seventh and eighth-grade students have regular prompts that challenge them to write creatively. Most recently, they had to finish this thought “I sat down at my desk and sifted through the mail that had been placed in front of my computer. All junk, of course. I was about to dump it all in the recycling bin when I saw my favorite magazine at the bottom of the pile. Tossing the rest aside, I snatched it up, but something unexpected fell out from between the pages. . . “ What might fall out of your favorite magazine???
We had a great first Parents and Guardians Council meeting this past Tuesday. Be sure to read through the minutes of the meeting if you were not able to attend. Looking ahead, join with me and Westfield Meeting for Worship to celebrate World Quaker Day on Sunday, October 3rd. Many of you will have seen a new fence being installed around the main playing field. The installation pushed recess into the cemetery. Ask your children what they did for fun those two days. Trees were explored, mole tunnels squished, gravestones read for interesting names, football played between rows. Necessity is the mother of invention and no one was in a hurry to come in from recess on either day.
What I am reading:
Penrics Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church by Barbara Holmes
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I am reading this to 4th & 5th grade while we sit in the cemetery!