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Small Moment Anchor Chart

September 29, 2015 No Comments
Happy Monday friends!  I wanted to pop in really quickly tonight to share a little bit about our writing workshop lesson from today.  We’re finally at the point in writing workshop where I feel like my first graders have a strong understanding of the routines and are able to get started with their stories without much support from me.  They’re independently getting up and getting paper on their own from the writing center, they’re working with partners to help brainstorm story ideas, and they’re stretching and sounding out words on their own instead of asking “How do you spell ______???”  We’re starting to find our flow!
For this reason, I knew it was time to push things into high gear and start working on taking our true stories about ourselves and zooming into those small moments in our lives.  In order to do this, I use the Lucy Calkin’s strategy of thinking of small moments as seed stories instead of huge and heavy watermelon stories.  In order for my first grade writers to understand this difficult concept, I knew I needed a strong visual to drive this point home.  We talked about how watermelons are huge and heavy and I acted out how much I would struggle if I had to carry one around.  I tried to sell it as much as possible!  I told them that in writing, instead of writing huge watermelon stories we need to pick out tiny seeds.
Then, we started referencing my favorite mentor text for small moment writing; Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements.  We went through a few of our favorite scenes (where he smashes the table and curls his toes!) and talked about how George didn’t write about his son’s ENTIRE day but instead zoomed in on a VERY small moment of his day.  So small in fact that the little boy never even leaves the table and stays in one spot throughout the entire book.  I told the kids how George McClements zoomed in on his son and chose a tiny seed inside of his huge watermelon day.

After, I showed my kids our new small moment anchor chart.  Together we read the descriptions that I had posted on the chart that says “Small moment writers look into a watermelon story and pick out a seed!  Think…is this a watermelon story or a seed story?  Then I shared two examples that I had posted on the chart.  My watermelon story example was all about my day at the beach with my family.  While my seed story was about the small moment at the beach when I built a sandcastle with my sister.
After we talked about those examples, I continued to give different examples of story ideas and asked my students to turn and talk to their partners to decide if they thought it was a watermelon story or a small seed story.  With MULTIPLE examples we were finally on the right track!  Writing about what I love to do in Fall is NOT a seed story my little first grade friends.  
This is not something I expect my first graders to fully grasp after just one day of instruction.  We’ll be referencing this chart throughout the rest of our small moment unit of study.  But, I know this visual will be a huge help to my kids!
If you’re interested in grabbing this for your own classroom, I have put the pieces from my anchor chart into a packet in my TpT store.  You can grab it here!
Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Hi! I’m Jayme! A former elementary teacher turned stay at home mom sharing toddler activities, mom tips, and educational resources to help you learn and play with your children. I believe in the power of PLAY and creating meaningful activities for you and your little ones to enjoy together.

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