Anchor ChartsI have definite thoughts about anchor charts and I am more than clear about the explicit nature of anchor charts. They must be created WITH, BY, and FOR the students. Then, the students must practice using the anchor charts. After these steps, the anchor charts have meaning and depth and students use them easily. The BIG 3 anchor chart can be constructed in one of two ways. The teacher and the student can interactively create the chart over a few days (as pictured on the cover image) or the class can construct the chart with pretyped words and interactive writing combined. Students should also be given a writing folder sized anchor chart for personal reference, as they are writing. When anchor charts are used consistently and taught HOW to use the charts, students own the chart and the task at hand.
Sing it!Anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows that if early learners can sign about it, they can learn it. As a matter of fact, they can sing it before they understand it. It is incredibly important to make sure they have connected the meaning of the song with the action. There are hand motions to the song:
Writing a sentence is as easy as can be (One hand "holds a pencil," while the other is opened flat to mimic the paper. As the student sings the song, the pencil writes on the paper.)
All you need is the BIG 3 (student holds up 3 fingers)
Capitals to start (both hands stretch up as high as they can, bouncing as the student sings)
Spaces in between (two hand come to shoulder height and push out from the sides, making spaces)
A period to stop, if you know what I mean. (Bring 1 fist across the body and stop it on the other open hand.)
Writing a sentence is easy as can be (repeat earlier motion)
All you need is the BIG 3! (repeat earlier motion)
Students will practice the Big 3 independently with predictable sentences. As they practice the sight word sentences, students can check each sentence for capitals, spaces, and end marks. This is a wonderful guided writing practice because it's controlled.
Journal WritingI've used these rubric writing journal covers with students for both journal writing and/or morning work. Students writing each morning will look at the rubric from the day before and remind themselves of the Big 3. Having the daily rubric on the cover, let's students know where they can make sure their attention is going when they write that day. On Friday, I would send this weekly writing booklet home to be celebrated with their families.
Using the BIG 3 with early writers is a great way to get students involved in their own writing.