Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So this post is mainly just for me because I wanted a way to keep track of these ideas visually and in a way that I can refer back to later.

I am having all of those "ahhhh" feelings that happen to first grade teachers at the end of the year. The students have grown so much that they are sometimes not recognizable. I want to keep track of this feeling and the knowledge of how far they have come to refer back to next year when we are in the middle of the year and we are all working so hard to make this growth happen. This post will inspire me to keep plugging along and working at it.

I am mostly just going to post photos with a few sentences to tell about what growth I see in each photo. There will be samples from all types of writers. I will still see many things to teach each child but I will also see just how far each child has come. So here goes.

This writer is combining things she learned in math, art, our bee study during our Expedition and writing.

This writer used an idea from a book we read as a mentor text and tried fold out illustrations.

This writer used The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer as a mentor text to create this book called, The Frog Room.

This student attempts to add descriptive language to her story to create a setting.

Another writer was inspired by The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer.

This writer was inspired to try a technique she noticed in Ready Freddy books. She added a hidden word to each illustration in her book. She hid the word "life" in each picture because it went with the theme of her book.

This writer was inspired to write his own version of a Fly Guy story.

This writer tried many things on this page - bold print, quotation marks and stretching out a word for emphasis.

This student combined two ideas into a new book of his own creation. He read Wump World by Bill Peet and the play Willy Wonka (that was put on at our school this year) to come up with his own story about The Wonka World.

This writer tried circling words that didn't look right to him and also using all uppercase letters for emphasis.

This student uses descriptive language in his story - "It was a peaceful and calm planet."

This writer had a different way of adding a foldout illustration to his story.

One of our school's character traits showed up in this illustration. This writer shows you what the world would look like with stewardship of the Earth and without.

This writer found his passion in writing. He struggled to come up with ideas all year until we wrote nonfiction. He is working on a series of nonfiction books. So far he has written about worms, bees and frogs. He is taking what he learns during our Expedition and incorporating it into his writing.

Every writer in my crew is not represented here. These are just photos that represent what many of the writers are attempting at this point in the year and will remind me of what things inspire first grade writers next year.


  1. This sort of reflection is so impressive to me. Finding those positives across the class, documenting them for future planning, and identifying the importance of student choice - it's inspirational.

    As an added bonus, reading about the things that inspired your students pushes me in some new directions for next year. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks, Jenny. I am happy to share with you. I always learn so much from your blogs.

  2. Jill this is a wonderful post. I love that you've taken the time to document some different types of learning done by your students this year. I think as teachers, while we often celebrate our students' successes, we need to celebrate our success more too. These samples clearly show that you have been a fantastic teacher/guide/mentor for your students.

    You have me thinking about my own students too, and what I and my student teacher have shown them. You have me thinking about how I can do things better too. Thank you for making my head spin.

    1. Karen,

      My head was spinning, too. That was why I wanted to capture some of this in a blog post so that I wouldn't lose the ideas. That is so easy to do in teaching. Thanks for visiting and commenting.