Mechanics / Conventions
Working with Words
1. Writing workshop mini lesson Conventions using CUPS.
At the bottom of the child's writing papers the acronym CUPS is written. After the students write their stories I walk them through a "CUPS".
I say, "Put a C on your paper, do through your sentences and if you have capitals, put a star over the C. If you need capitals, fix them and THEN put the star over the c." (My goal is to make them more aware of correct sentence form, not whether they "did it right" the first time.)
Then I repeat for U (understanding, does your sentences make sense).
Then I repeat for P (punctuation).
Then I repeat for S (Spelling). Ask the kids, "Did you spell the word wall words correctly?" "Or did you write down the sounds you hear in the words?" I make a poster to have in the classroom as a reference. The poster should not be made ahead of time. The class with teacher guidance should make the poster. There will be more buy in if they are included.
C = capitalization
U = understanding
P = punctuation
S = spelling
2. Writing workshop mini lesson Stretching A Word For Spelling
Stretching a word like a rubber band. They listen slowly to the component sounds. "Does anyone have a special word we could spell together?" The children suggested spaghetti, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and hippopotamus. The class worked together to say it as slowly as the teacher goes, like a rubber band. Then asks, "What sounds do you hear?" She transcribes the children's guesses on the chalkboard. The purpose is not to spell the words correctly but to model one way of spelling words. She wrote done incorrect letters.
3. Writing workshop mini lesson Spelling
Children are uneasy about invented spelling. Ask your students: "Who is the boss of your book?" The student says, "I am." "Who makes decisions about your story?" Once again the student says, "I do." "Who decides how you will spell a word?" The students chorus, "You do!" NO! They are the boss of their spelling in the writing time. Later when it comes to editing, we'll clean it up for the public. Just do your best. Do what you can, and don't worry. You can provide dictionaries for their use, and we still have spelling words to increase their sight word vocabulary but during the writing of ideas, don't sweat the spelling. Word walls and teaching children to see patterns in words is way important too. (Just remember right now the main focus is ideas, not spelling, not handwriting.)