Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mark your calendars-January 2014

You are probably wondering what in the world that is 3 years away.  Take it from me it will be here before you know it. In Florida, 4th graders take the FCAT Writes test where they demonstrate their writing craft in essay form.  We all know preparation does not just happen in fourth grade.  Teachers and parents start before Kindergarten exposing young minds to text and text features.  They read stories with different voices and intonation.  They help with sentence structure and word choice.  It truly takes a long time to improve one's writing craft.  Each year our 4th grade puts on a Write Night.  A guest speaker is offered to inspire and talk about their journey as a writer.  The 4th grade teachers perform a skit.  Tips are offered to parents along with a countdown writing calendar and door prizes!  Our administration feels so strongly about a family night that they even offer pizza to all the families!  Thank you Mr. Butler and Dr. Newnam.

This year the guest speaker was Marian Strong Tomblin, a famous local writer.  She has written books entitled, The Mystery of Ormond Hotel, Where's Capone's Cash?, Manatee Moon, and others.  She is such a fabulous speaker!  She captivated the crowd with her wit and she made writing seem so easy to do. All you needed was practice!  She even had some of her "in the works" notebook available for the families to see.  There was one notebook that looked a little weathered, come to find out she had enough one day and left it out in the rain. Kaile, my daughter, was so excited to get an autographed copy of her book.  Just look at that smile.  Of course I had to squeeze into the photo.  I love it when I meet authors and get to tell my class all about the experience.
It was night to remember.  Taking that writing test just lets you see the fruits of your labor from pre-school to now.  If you don't write with your child, start today.  Buy a notebook and write notes back and forth, buy a journal and write about all those memorable moments, or buy a blank book and write about a future trip.  When was the last time your child actually sat down and wrote a thank you letter? Writing is all around and it goes hand in hand with reading.  The only way to get better is to practice.

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