Starting the Year – “Well begun is half done.”

Last spring, our school district decided to do away with parents and students purchasing the necessary school supplies. Instead, the district would charge parents a supply fee and the supplies would be ordered by and delivered to the school. Three days before our annual “Meet the Teacher” night, my classroom was filled with boxes of paper, notebooks, crayons, pencils, and miscellaneous supplies needed to start the year.

I was in desperate need of an organizational plan. Before I could even begin to think of what to teach during the first few days, I had to come up with a plan to organize and distribute all these supplies. This dilemma caused me to reflect on the concept of organization in writing.

Prior to focusing on content, students need an organizational structure. Not until that structure is in place can students begin to focus on content. The organization of next year’s school supplies will be much easier as I now know the system. Writing for students becomes easier when they have an organizational system that is familiar and comfortable to them.

We began the year by organizing our writing binders. The cover states that “I Am A Writer”, as it is important that every student remember they can write – each and every time they have a writing task. We then divide our binders into sections – Pre-writing (Gathering Ideas and Plans), Rough Drafts (First Try), Vivid Vocabulary, and a section for Poetry and Figurative Language. We incorporate our grammar practice into our actual writing pieces. By organizing our binders into sections, my students learn that writing is a process, that each idea does not need to be changed into a paragraph, and that revision can take place in parts. As we organize our binders, we will also organize our writing.

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Happy Writing!