The next day, when their garden pictures were complete, the students paired up and did a “point and talk- point to your picture and talk to your partner about it”. The chatter in the room was filled with excitement as the children described the amazing things in their gardens. One little boy was so excited to tell me that “In my garden there is a tree that grows hockey cards. And when you pick a hockey card – the guy shows up!” There was even a tree that grew French Fries and a nest that was filled with ketchup!
After the children shared their garden pictures, we met on the carpet and I showed them the writing I had done about my garden. (see photo below). I had intentionally written in “robot writing”, listing facts with no details. I read my piece out loud and asked the children to tell me what they had noticed about it. Many hands went up to tell me that I had written “robot writing” – “Boring!”
I reminded the students that writers need to make sure their writing is interesting for their readers. Adding details is one way we can help make our writing interesting. I asked the students to help me think of an interesting detail I could add about my book tree:
In my garden there is a book tree that grows books. Every morning when I go into my garden there is a new book growing just for me!
The new writing technique I introduced for this piece of writing was “if” sentences; cause an effect sentences that can add a sophisticated sentence structure to beginning writing. We first looked for “if” sentences in Kevin Henkes book. Then I asked the students to help me come up with some “if” sentences for my garden picture:
- “If you want to go into the garden, you have to say the secret password”“If you plant a piece of Lego, a Lego box will grow”
“If you want to change the season, you tell the tree what season you want”
“If you pick a book from the book tree, a new book grows.
Finally, we reviewed the things we were going to try to include in our writing: 1) interesting details 2) “triple scoop” words 3) Anchor line: “In my garden…” 4) 1-2 “If” sentences
The students couldn’t wait to get started on their writing! I am excited to read their finished pieces soon. One little boy asked if we could skip the field trip to the beach next week and “just go visiting everyone’s garden”!