Earlier in the school year, I posted some writing samples that were written by a few of my first graders. I am amazed at the difference in the quality of their writing and I am in love with the this piece, written by Enzo.
We just finished a unit on American symbols and thanks to the great set of non-fiction books I got through my donors choose request, my students were very interested. Ever since watching the presidential inauguration, they have shown a lot of interest in Obama and the life of a president so it was a great time to teach them a little bit more about our country. I never thought I would be pulling down a map and talking to first graders about the Revolutionary War and the original 13 colonies, but they loved it!
We concluded the unit by talking about President's Day and why we honor all of the presidents, with particular emphasis on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Incidentally, we also just started our unit on coins, so the kids were very excited to find Lincoln on the penny and Washington on the quarter. It was really cool to show them what pictures are on the backs of coins and have them recognize them from our study on American Symbols. Isn't is great when it all comes together.
Their final assignment was to write 3 or more sentences telling what they learned about President's Day, Abraham Lincoln, and or George Washington. I had written some of the vocabulary on the board such as Revolutionary War, assassination, and the names of the presidents, but Enzo's work is still impressive in that he correctly uses the words and accurately describes facts that he learned. Enzo is a non-fiction fiend and LOVES to write about animals and invent imaginary face-offs between animals from different habitats after which he shows me and says something like, "Hippo or Bison....VOTE!" His enthusiasm for writing is enchanting, especially when I recall how he started out the year.
It took Enzo quite some time work spaces into his writing. He would write pages, but his pieces were essentially one long flow of letters, without any spaces, and everything was spelled totally phonetically. It is perfectly reasonable to first graders to spell phonetically, but even simple words like of, were written exactly as they sound (uv). Each day when I checked his work, I would compliment Enzo on his creativity and word choice, and kindly remind him to think about adding some spaces. This went on for quite some time.
Until one day, the spaces just appeared..... and his writing has continued to improve ever since!
Enzo is a classic example of a student who has excellent content and is so focused on what he is writing about that he does not worry too much about capital letters and punctuation. I love that about his writing. Although it would be great if he added in some more periods and uppercase letters, his writing outshines that of many other students because it is rich and interesting and shows his personality and interests.
The funniest thing about Enzo is that he still says he can't read. (He totally can!). He can sound out words and read sentences, yet he is convinced he can't read. Go figure. Someday I think I will find a book in a bookstore written by my friend Enzo. :0)