Writing is an essential skill, and we all know how important it is for a student’s future academic career and for any job they pursue.
With this in mind, the lower division of the Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst introduced a Writing Workshop program, under the direction of Susie Garber, over five years ago.
Mrs. Garber works in classrooms with teachers and students in grades 1 to 4 on a weekly basis. Teachers then follow up during the week.
The program is based on the philosophy of Teacher’s College Columbia University Reading and Writing Project. It compliments and works with the Journey’s Reading Program to create an outstanding literacy program for Shulamith Lower Division.
The program covers Common Core Writing Standards, but it goes way beyond to bring out the creative voice of each student author and to instill in her confidence and a love of writing. Students work at their own individualized level and choose their own topics to write about.
In early June, each class celebrated their published writing in the elegant tent erected on the campus. Parents and grandparents were invited to this special event.
To begin, students marched into the tent and stood on risers. They sang original songs about writing, and recited a poem. They then invited their parents to accompany them to their class table, where writing portfolios filled with the year’s finished writing was displayed.
Each grade focused on different genres of writing:
•The second graders published memoirs, fictional animal books and poetry books
•Third graders published poetry books, fractured fairy tales, and Informational how to books
•The fourth graders published persuasive essays, personal narratives, and poetry.
Students in each grade learned craft skills such as using sensory details and strong verbs.
An Authors’ Tea included a gallery walk.
After parents and grandparents enjoyed their own daughter’s portfolio, they accompanied their daughter to view the other students’ work. Students wrote compliments to each other about their writing, and each girl went home with a list of compliments and her writing portfolio.
Girls and their guests enjoyed tea and cookies, with frosted cookies that said “#1 Shulamith Author” a featured treat.