“The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mr. Jenbere and Ms. Daryl combine classes for most of the school day. Mr. Jenbere’s class is a federally funded prekindergarten classroom with 18 students. Two of Mr. Jenbere’s students have Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and one of them uses a wheelchair. Ms. Daryl’s preschool class is for children who are identified as deaf and hard of hearing. All six of her students have IEPs. The students in these classes range in age from 2- to 5-years-old. Mr. Jenbere and Ms. Daryl believe that their co-teaching and inclusive practices strengthen the school experience of the children in both classes. Each of these classes has a paraprofessional and support from a variety of specialists, which gives these children a team of dedicated educators working towards their healthy development.
Mr. Jenbere and Ms. Daryl provide meaningful opportunities for writing throughout the day, including a specific time designated for writing instruction. They make an effort to connect writing instruction with all aspects of the curriculum in authentic ways. Today, the children are writing thank you notes to the assistant principal, who read them a story this morning. The children are gathered around tables with educators who are considering each child’s strengths and needs as they support and guide children during their writing time. They know that the unique abilities of individual learners must be considered in addition to the goals that they have for all of their children.
At Mr. Jenbere’s table, six children are engaged in writing using a variety of materials, including white unlined paper, colored construction paper, cardstock, markers, and crayons. Three children are using markers to draw pictures of the story the assistant principal read. They are talking to each other about the story as they draw. Arzu is using a crayon to scribble and is talking to herself as she writes. Mr. Jenbere helps Hasan identify the sounds in a word and then turns his attention to Richelle who reads her thank you note aloud. After listening to Richelle, he jots down an anecdotal note that documents not only the writing skills she used but also insights related to her comprehension of the story. Later, Mr. Jenbere and Ms. Daryl compare their anecdotal notes as they make plans for tomorrow’s writing instruction. They understand that assessment during writing instruction provides a window into the children’s learning and development.