One Sunflower


on September 4, 2012

“But what about scribbling?  What do you do if they just scribble?”

The question came, as it always does, when I talk to preschool teachers about the journal writing experience I engage my students in.   My answer: “I don’t let them.”

And as usual, the teacher’s mouths drop open and I see the horror and disbelief in their eyes.  I put up my hand and I walk them back through my premise again.  Working in the journals is not an art experience for my students, we are creating stories and learning about writing.

I provide plenty of opportunities for my students to mess around with art materials and scribble all they want. And I let them “scribble” with their play.  But when I sit down with them at our writing table to create a story I expect them to draw and practice what they know about writing.  I support them in these efforts in any way they need.  Sometimes they need me to draw a circle or two to get their figure drawing started, sometimes they need help with the setting or other characters and creatures that are part of their ideas.  Sometimes I just need to put my hand over their hand to guide what they already know or are beginning to know.

Usually when I explain this, the teachers nod their heads because they understand scaffolding, they just hadn’t thought about how this is what it looks like in writing with our youngest authors.


7 responses to “clarification

  1. Juliann says:

    Your intentionality is something we need to pursue in early education. Thank you for taking the time to articulate the why behind the what.

  2. elsie says:

    Scribble brings to mind unintentional and haphazard lines on the page. Your students’ lines are placed with intention and purpose. That creates writing.

  3. newtreemom says:

    I like your explanation. I will share with the preschool teacher at our school. I know it will encourage her because I can tell it reflects what she believes.

  4. Betsy says:

    Your title says it all! Love how you put this and how you were able to explain so clearly your purpose.

  5. I am thankful for your clarification. My original thought was that scribbling was part of the beginning stages of writing — and it is, but you set that expectation that there is a time to scribble and a time to write with purpose – “practice what they know about writing.” I love it!

  6. pamelahodges says:

    Each line has a purpose. Thank you for sharing how you assist young writers.

  7. Terje says:

    Writing with intention from early on makes sense. Why wait. I’ll share this with preschool teachers in my school.

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