In the months leading up to our Young Authors Day, I do trainings to help our faculty, especially the newer ones, as they work with their students to prepare their books. I do these about once a month which gives the teachers a chance to practice what we’ve discussed before the next session.
In the first session (in September) we talk about using Voice to Text in Google Docs. I am a big fan of Google Docs and the many ways it can be used in the classroom. I love the feature of being able to have students just talk into a microphone and having their text appear in their Google Doc. This is especially wonderful for students who are not yet writing or for whom writing poses a great challenge. I always recommend having a volunteer or aide go in and check the spelling and punctuation as Google doesn’t always get those correct.
In the next session (in October), I share some writing prompts or story starter ideas. Primary Journal Ideas has many writing prompts for ages 6-8, most of which are easily adapted for older students. I also recommend a free set of Writing Prompt Task Cards from Teachers Pay Teachers. This particular set is for Primary Grades but, again, it can be adapted for older students.
By the third session (in November or December), the teachers are ready to share some stories with their students which show how to get writing ideas. Two of my favorite titles for this are A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen and Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon.
The fourth and final session (in January), I share some books that are easy to “copy cat” with students. A concept book like Green by Laura Seeger is a great model. Students could “write” a book based on a color or number or letter of the alphabet. Books like Not a Box and Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis can be used as models for student writing projects as well.
Between this final session and Young Authors Day, I am available to answer questions or assist in whatever way the teachers need me to. Often times at least one teacher will decide to have their students do non-fiction books. When this happens, they will schedule time in the library and I will work with their students on the research process.
What kind of training do you do with your teachers? I’d love to hear your ideas.