I See HUGE Improvement!!

Whew!  We finally finished our first “real” piece of writing this week and celebrated today!  Woo hoo!!

While these aren’t even close to perfect, they are a HUGE improvement from the writing sample I took the first week of school.  My heart is full!

We started with three kernel essays.  I didn’t give a prompt…and won’t for awhile…so it was their choice.  From there, we chose one to take into drafting.  We filled out our flipbooks (which you have seen if you’ve been following) and added as many details as we could.  Then it was time for revision stations.  Although it didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, they DID add some details while rotating around the room to each station.  We’ll get there. 😉

To my surprise, my kiddos were able to complete their published piece in one day.  That made up for some lost time!!  Today we celebrated by walking around the room and reading papers that were laid out on our desks and made positive comments about them.  Tomorrow we will go over some common trends and talk about how to make this next one EVEN BETTER!  I can’t wait!

But…I needed to show off their hard work.  I’m so stinkin’ proud of how far they have come with just ONE lesson from Gretchen Bernabei’s book.  Have I told you that her strategies are EASY and FUN for everyone involved?  Just take a look for yourself….

Oh, and if you click on the pictures, you can see them much larger and actually read them.  :)

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I don’t have room to show off EVERYONE, but I thought you might enjoy seeing a small sampling of awesomeness.  Y’all…this is HUGE!  Can you even believe this transformation?  This is going to be an AH-MAZING year!  I can’t wait to see what our future holds!

How are your kiddos doing?  Are you using Gretchen’s strategies?  You should be… 😉

Ta ta for now!









  1. Melissa Barbay says:

    These are awesome! You (& your students) are such an inspiration to me. I have a question – do your students finish their writing pieces at different times, and if they do, what do you have them work on so as to not rush the others? As the year passed by last year & my students (who were pretty advanced for 4th grade) would finish with one piece, I would have them move on individually to a new prompt. However, at the beginning of the year and with my less advanced students, I’m a little more wary about them all being at different stages of the writing process and/or responding to different prompts. Thanks for any advice you can give me!

    • Kayla Shook says:

      I do allow them to do the same things once we are farther along. Right now I’m guiding them through the whole process, but even on this next piece I will allow a little more freedom.

    • Kayla Shook says:

      And yes, I allow my students to move on to another writing piece. No need to hold them back if they are ready to move on. ?

  2. I enjoy reading about your class. What is the ONE lesson from Gretchen that you used? What book of hers did you get the lesson from?
    Thanks for all you share!!

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