Monday, March 4, 2013

First Grade Collaborative Writing!

Starting next week, I will be visiting my old stompin' grounds.  That's right, I'm headed back to first grade for a few weeks!  We have two new first grade teachers who have generously agreed to allow me to visit their rooms for Writer's Workshop.  Since all three of us agreed that we needed to improve our writing instruction, we felt that this was a great way for the three of us to grow together!

In preparation for the coming weeks, I've been pouring over instructional guides, gathering student nonfiction books, and writing lesson plans - a big difference from what my year has been like so far!

I'm SO excited about doing this.  It feels good to get my feet wet back in the classroom, and those first grade babies hold a special place in my heart.  Plus, I'm really looking forward to getting to know these teachers better.  I love collaboration!

Like I said, I feel like teaching writing is a weakness of mine.  Okay, I know it's a weakness.  In fact, when it came time to compose portfolio pieces it was all about completion and less about the process.  My interest wasn't in growing and supporting the productive struggle of my new writers, but in how quickly and effortlessly I could get them to copy and complete my writing prompt.  I struggled.  The kids struggled.  And my frustration level was maxed out.  

Pathetic, right?  I know!  I agree!  

But you can't grow unless you admit your weakness.  So, before my fellow bloggers...

Hi, I'm Mrs. Mullins and I need to improve my writing instruction.  

There I said it.  

So, nevertheless, get excited!  Because in the coming weeks, I hope to share with you a few times a week about our progress.  Even better?  I will make all of my resources and lesson plans available to you for FREE.  We start next Monday, March 11th, so watch for an update early next week :)

 * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In other news, Becks was Thing One at school today.  Presh.

And, I found an amazing rug on Craigslist.  <3 Love <3

Happy Monday, friends!


Jeanne said...

Alright! This is exciting news--since writing is my weakness too. I do have to say that common core has enhanced the types of writing we are doing in first grade!

(And you scored on Craigs List!)

Across the Hall said...

We're starting a Writer's Workshop series on our blog as well! Hopefully we can learn from each other! Teaching writing can be intimidating!!!

Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

Stacy Renee said...

Looking forward to hearing about your writing adventure. Cute rug and Thing 1!

Live Love Laugh and Teach!

Ordinary Everyday said...

Writing is MY weakness too! My teaching partner and I have really been collaborating about how to make it better. Can't wait to see what you ladies have in store! :)

Mrs. Richardson said...

I have only taught for 5 years and EVERY year NO ONE wants to plan writing...I used to say I got "stuck" with it. Now, if anyone else planned it, I'm sure I'd secretly do my own thing! I HEART Lucy Caulkins and her mini-lessons have helped me become a better writing teacher EVERY year! As a matter of fact, when I veer from the mini-lessons, I can tell in my students' writing. It's not near as great. :\ HAVE FUN!!!
P.S. That rug is AWE-SOME!
Mrs. Richardson's Class

Becky said...

I totally recommend the book "About the Authors" by Katie Wood ray. The book totally changed the way I did writing workshop in my kindergarten classroom.

Liz said...

I love teaching writing. I use Lucy Calkins and it's amazing! :)
Teaching in the Valley

My First Love said...

I can't wait to see what you have in store for us! Writing is DEFINITELY my least favorite subject to teach. Why? Because I.AM.NOT.GOOD.AT.IT!
My First Love

Love to Learn said...

I cannot tell you how many other teachers I have talked to lately whom have been saying the same thing - we need to improve our teaching of writing. Can't wait to see more of what you have planned for those two weeks!

Love to Learn

Katie Knight said...

Great rug! I hear you on the writing!

Stephanie said...

Yay!! I can't wait to see what you're up too in the first grade these next few weeks! I'm sure first grade misses you bunches!!

❤ -Stephanie
Falling Into First

Mrs. Anderson said...

I love teaching writing and it's my favorite time of the day. I carve out 30 mins a day, EVERY day, for writing. I'm glad to see that you have discovered Lucy Calkins. She has been a true inspiration to me. I have some writing ideas on my blog about Author Sharing, Ideas Traits, and Writing folders that you may be interested in. Check them out at
Connie Anderson:)

Lori said...

I am so glad I am not the only one who isn't good at teaching writing. I am pathetic! It is my least favorite part of the day. I am looking forward to your lesson plans! Thanks for sharing!


Ms.M said...

Hi Abby, I completely understand what you mean when you say Writing is a struggle.

However my when my district adopted Lucy Calkin's UoS they also wrote out all the lessons out for us and made it easy as cake.

My point is that I posted bout these lessons and more specifically how I do my Non fiction animal research reports with my first grade ELL students. If you are interested you can go here, Ms.M's Blog and read about it. I also have some freebies on there. ;)

Ms.M's Blog
A Teacher's Plan

Mr. Jimmy said...

And here I thought you were perfect in everything you do! This makes you much more human. Thanks for showing us that we don't have to be perfect, that perfection is in imperfection :)

Melissa P. Brittany P. said...

Abby!!! You are SO not ALONE! In fact, you have more company than you probably realize! I was feeling the same way last year. I found that adding more writing time helped my writers a LOT because they became more comfortable and confident in their own ability. My favorite teacher friend/blog buddy/life saver (she wears many hats) loves teaching writing so I took everything I could from her. We leveled our kids so the writers working on basics could work at a slower pace and our more advanced writers worked on a new writing strategy each week. One week they'd work on adding vivid verbs to their writing, another week they learned about "showing not telling" when they wrote. We also covered many other concepts and it was INCREDIBLE what they came up with! I was blown away that my first graders could be so *gosh, darn* creative! My goodness, it was amazing! Even our struggling writers showed tremendous growth! I'm so proud! So now, I love teaching writing! It took a ton of patience, but was totally worth it! I can't wait to see what you and your new 1st grade teachers come up with! Just remember it will take more than a few weeks to see BIG results but it will happen! I have proof! Good luck!

PS- Great rug!!!! Love your style!

Albuquerque Amy's First Graders said...

I love to teach writing. Every Friday in my 1st grade reading group is writing day. My students cheer when we get to do a whole 30-40 min of writing. I love it, so they love. You have all the enthusiasm in the world, so you will be wonderful!!!

Mrs. LaFave said...
Check out this site...
Our K-5 teachers studied the Lucy Culkins framework and I stumbled upon this school website. I am not certain that it is aligned fully with common core but our K-5 staff all use it. We now have consistency between grades and grade levels. I am a K teacher and right now my students are working on writing more detail, zooming into their story and editing their work. Next week I will introduce the HOW TO Writing. I feel that if I make TIME for writing they become BETTER writers!

I LOVE you BLOG and I WISH you ALL the BEST!

Mrs. LaFave said...
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Mrs. LaFave said...
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Chandra Verbic said...

Hello! As a first grade teacher, writing was one of my favorite things to teach! I recently blogged about my non-fiction research unit on my (new) blog. Check it out:
My students loved working on their wonder bubbles and its a perfect project for this time of year!
Chandra :)

Jess said...

I can't wait to see your writing workshop plans! I think I'm a pretty good good writing teacher but sometimes I feel like I need to spice things up a bit and get out of the routine. I hope to get lots of inspiration from your posts! Thanks!
Rambling About Reading

Wendy said...


If I can be of any support, please let me know. I was a literacy coach in multiple K-5 classrooms in a Title 1 district for the two-four years we worked on writing. I went in several times a week to do mini-lessons and model Writer's Workshop with teachers.

Have a great night... I learn so much from you and your adventures ! :)

Ms. D's Literacy Lab--TpT