I gave the students the writing paper and had them write about the many things we did during their first grade year. This was truly more of a free write–they could write as little or as much as they wanted! The point was to get things down on paper that we had done. You could even do this whole group and create a list!
When they were finished, we gathered on the carpet and made a list of items that make our writing “star” writing. The kids listed: spaces, capital letters at the beginning of sentences, punctuation at the end, lowercase letters in the middle of our sentences, sentences that make sense, and word wall words spelled correctly.
After they made the list, I assigned a bird part to each writing aspect. I told them they had to earn their bird! If their writing wasn’t done correctly, their bird wouldn’t be done correctly either. They thought it was SO silly! I wanted them to understand that their writing looked silly when it was missing writing conventions.
I gave them the chance to go back and check their writing and then I conferenced with each one as we went through the list. Some birds look complete! Others, as the students said, “can never stop flying or rest” because they don’t have feet. Some birds are blind. I even had a headless bird! The kids had a blast with it and it really helped them see the importance of each item they listed.
Next year, I think I will do this more than just at the end of the year! It was powerful! (UPDATE: I did this throughout the whole next year! You can read more about that HERE.)
This bird is the headless one. The smart kiddo made the top part of the body the bird’s head.