My first graders (who are learning from home right now) have opinions, ideas, and are really funny, so it took my by surprise to read their first pieces of writing. For the most part, the writing (a personal narrative across three pages) was focused, well organized, and the spelling was pretty conventional. The sketches were detailed and a few students added labels. I guess that’s all pretty good for early first grade writers, but I was surprised by the lack of voice.
Where was S’s love of frogs, T’s love for numbers, A’s great sense of humor, and the other A’s quiet, but strong personality? Did they think that writing was about being organized and spelling the words correctly? What could I do to show them how to put themselves on the page?
I decided to ask my first graders to find an object in their home that is important to them. I’ve asked them to bring the object to our Zoom meet tomorrow (I’m curious to see what they bring! I may end up with dogs and baby brothers.). Maybe if I have my students share their objects and talk about why these objects matter to them, and then ask them to tell a story that involves the object, I’ll see more of their personalities, and hear more of their beautiful voices.
We’ll see what happens!