In my district we teach writing with the 6 traits. My kinder kids just got done with Organization. I know I have previously mentioned that we use the "O Train" to help us teach this skill.
The O Train really helps my, very visual, ELL students. They can easily see that the train has 3 parts, just like their stories. This is how I introduce it to my student...
The first, or beginning, train is the engine, and it is green, for go! That is the start of our stories and helps to lead, like a line leader. The second car is the middle, the most interesting and exciting part. This cart is yellow, and helps us to slow down. The last car is the end and is red. This means stop and the end of our stories.
For my ELL kids I also transferred these images to their writing paper, without the color of course. Here is a freebie for you. Again, this is what my Kinder Kids use, not my 1st graders.3 pg bk 3 lines a
As you can see, I have added the train parts to each page to help my students remember what part they are working on. This also helps them to not start a new stories on each page. They are to stretch their stories out to have a beginning, middle and end. I also added 1st, 2nd and 3rd to the trains.
Before my students begin to write they have to plan their stories. I have a couple planning pages that go with the writing paper but I find that if you have enough time for them to complete a story it is best to have the students touch each page and say what they will draw and write on the lines. However, because I don't have a lot of writing time with my ELL students I do use the planning pages. Just click on the image below.
The students are only supposed to sketch their story in 3 parts quickly. The reason for this sheet is for students to remember what is supposed to come next and last. When completed my students staple this page to their book and can transfer their illustrations and story.
Once all that is taught and becomes routine I teach leads and transition words. Sounds like a lot for a Kindergartner? It may be but some kids get it, and others will at least have been exposed to it and will have some sort of foundation when they get older.
I teach leads as "Story Starters". They "lead" the story, like our engine and line leader. We talk about good ways to start a story and how it is pretty boring to always start with "I". "We", I, brainstorm possible ways to start our stories, out loud and create a list. I type the leads on my laptop and have my kids watch. This way I have a clean poster that the students recognize. The story starters are mounted on green construction paper to match the train's engine.
In a few days time I introduce transition words. No surprise they are also color coordinated to match their cars.
I realized once I had them up I should have added the trains to them too. Oh well, they color will have to be enough.
Finally, (like my transition word?) I also print these on colored paper and place on the board for easy referencing.
Most kids won't use transition words. Only the really quick kids will pick up on it. However, I find that having them up and referencing them when I model writing really helps my students understand what I am talking about. They start to use them when they are talking, which is a fantastic side effect for me as an ELL teacher.
Another way we practice telling our stories in 3 parts is with 3 hula hoops or 3 squares (made with masking tape) on the floor. The kids step in a hula hoop or square and tell the beginning, middle and then the end. The hula hoops are nice because they can be removed and put away. However, the squares are nice too because they can be used for other activities like retelling stories, blending and segmenting, sorting items or even math equations.
So one more freebie for you... the transition posters. Just click on the links below to get a copy for your room.
All this takes a couple months to get through and I probably spend a whole quarter on it. I also use the beg, mid and end strategies to help us retell the stories we have read. I love it when my students start to recognize and pick out the leads and transition words in the reading text. They get so excited. It is a great way to help them understand this is not just a writing skill but a life skill.
One last thing. In School B they created a different planning page and 3 page book, with transition words already on the page. This all comes stapled together already and is less work for the students. Of course I added some trains. If you are interested you can click on the image below to get your own copy.
Wow, lots of freebies! I hope you find some of them helpful. If you download and use these, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you think, how you use them or if you do something differently.