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K-2 Skills Block: Interactive Writing

This video shows 1st graders using Interactive Writing, an instructional practice in the K-2 Reading Foundations Skills Block that helps students apply their growing knowledge of letter-sound connections to write sentences using familiar spelling patterns and high frequency words in a shared sentence. First, the teacher reads aloud an intentionally designed sentence. Students tap out each word. Then students analyze the sounds in each word. Finally they reread the completed sentence. This instructional practice is used (with slight variations) in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades.


- ♪ Now let’s all be writers ♪ ♪ Be writers be writers ♪ ♪ Now let’s all be writers ♪ ♪ Like authors we love ♪ ♪ Listen to the sentence ♪

- [Narrator] At Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Anne Simpson’s first graders are engaging in interactive writing.

- Go ahead, spell it for me. B-E.

- [Narrator] In interactive writing, students apply their growing knowledge of letter-sound connections in the act of writing words at the board and where they are seated, using familiar spelling patterns and high frequency words in a shared sentence. To begin, the teacher reads aloud an intentionally-designed sentence.

- The kids wanted to hide behind the wide pines. Everybody tap it. The kids wanted to hide.

- [Narrator] After students repeat the sentence, the class looks in-depth at each word in the sentence.

- When I’m about to go write my first word, what do I need to remember?

- [Student] To do a capital letter.

- Oh, I’ll write it with my capital letter ‘cause it’s the first word of my sentence. The, the kids. Kids is a word that plays fair. So, we can tap out the sounds on our fingers and be ready to write it together. Are you ready? Let’s tap it out. Kuh, ee, duh, suh So I’m gonna say it and I want you to tell me the letters. Everybody’s beautiful voices. K, kuh ee, I duh, D S. Ready, kids. Good. The kids wanted. Oh, Sissy, why were you pointing back there?

- Because yesterday we learned how to spell that word.

- [Anne] And where is it?

- [Sissy] It’s in the W section.

- It’s in the W section of our high frequency word wall.

- [Narrator] High frequency words that have been taught are cataloged for the whole class on the word wall.

- Take a look back there. Remember want is not a word that plays fair. It plays unfair. I’m looking for someone who feels brave to come and write want. Cecilia, let’s all spell it together. W Go ahead, I want to hear it. A N T. Let’s remember our next word, ready? The kids wanted to. Now we know that one. Let’s all stand up and make it with our bodies. T O, let me see these good O’s. Oh, some nice O’s out there. Good, have a seat. Jonathan, can you come up and write hide for us? There’s something tricky at the end there, let’s see. Huh, I, duh. Did he spell it right? H-i-d-e? But what could he make better? I heard someone say it. What could he make better? What could he improve, Jessica?

- The D is capital but it’s not the first of the word. Have to be lowercase.

- [Anne] Good.

- [Narrator] Throughout the lesson, the teacher employs a variety of techniques to engage her students in committing the letter formation to memory.

- Is everybody ready? Dip your hands in the paint and swirl it around, go ahead. S A

- [Narrator] These techniques include Sky Writing, using their entire bodies, writing on their bodies, sharing the pen with students and using white boards.

- Now I’m done. Thank you very much.

- [Students] No.

- Yup, I’m all done, I’m all done.

- [Students] No.

- What?

- [Students] A period.

- What?

- [Students] Period. Why, Tyson, why? You’re right, ‘cause my idea is done. So let’s all read it together, are you ready? The kids wanted to hide behind the wide pine.

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