Monday, March 16, 2015

Stencil Stories and Picture Prompts

Hello There!

Happy almost spring! I am so excited for the warmer temps, more hours of daylight, and the spring colors to reappear! I spent this weekend in Savannah Georgia with my family and it felt GREAT to wear shorts and flip flops (sorry about the white legs and all). While there I found a perfect souvenir by a local artist!

I want to share an idea that has been a staple in my writing center for almost my entire teaching career. Before TpT and my favorite teacher blogs were around I had to think think think...then one day I had an idea that has worked so well to help support my first graders while writing it has stayed in my writing center ever since.

I call it Stencil Writing.

First, my students choose a stencil from the basket and trace the picture with a pencil. (While modeling I teach them this is a good time to BRAINSTORM their ideas for their story.)

On each stencil I have written with a Sharpie vocabulary words that I predict they may want to use in their stories as a form of support. The words also help my writers come up with ideas for their sentences.

Next they write their story. Even my low babies are successful with this because they have some of the words they need right there on the stencil. I have a sight word wall posted near by so almost every word they need is available for them.

Then, I teach my students good writers check over their writing and reread it to make sure it makes sense.

Last, if they have time they can use my special markers, crayons, colored pencils to illustrate their story.

THEY LOVE THIS CENTER! My students CHOOSE it during Fun Friday and inside recess time!!!

I love it for so many reasons....

  • My students are SUCCESSFUL writers!
  • If you have lots of stencils, they can write about their interests.
  • This writing center supports all levels of writers, our low babies are not afraid and our high kiddos find ways to write to show off what they know.
  • The stencils can be used in many the beginning of the year my students write simple narrative stories, later in the year they use them to write informational and opinion stories.

So here is how to make them: laminate whole plain file folders, cut them into fourths and take them to the die cut machine. Die cut things that are high interest to your students (stars, cupcakes, dinosaurs, flowers, dolphins, rockets...) Throw out the die cut piece and write the words you think they may need while writing their story with a permanent pen. Viola! You have a new center your kids will love!!!

If you like this idea but you don't have access to die cuts or you are too busy enjoying the spring sunshine grading papers and lesson planning, you can check out this Spring Picture Prompt pack  or the year long bundle (100 prompts) at a great discount! Writing Picture Prompts Bundle  

I chose simple thematic pictures so my kids could add details to the picture. Each prompt has story vocabulary words to support their brainstorming and writing. Finally each page has the self/peer editing checklist!

It is exactly the same idea, your students will just pick a spring picture of interest to them. I am excited for my sweet firsties to get their hands on them and read their spring stories!  Click HERE if you want to see more of The Spring Picture Prompt pack.

I have one last thing to share...if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen what a #smartiepants kindergarten daughter I have. As I was putting the finishing touches on the Spring picture prompts, Ella had to try one...she wrote this story on her own!! #proudmama

Sorry for the quality of the picture, Ella wouldn't let me take it down off her wall!

I hope you got a new idea while reading :) Before you go, leave a comment...what are you most looking forward to this spring?

Thanks for stopping by and reading!