Friday, July 19, 2013

Squiggle It, Just a Little Bit...or A Lot!

Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.
One of my favorite centers is called the SQUIGGLE CENTER.  Pat Pavelka  presented a workshop for my school system in 2004 and introduced me to the Squiggle.  Over the years, I took what Pat taught us and tweaked the center into one of my favorites.  It is the perfect center to foster creativity and enhance writing skills.

Squiggle starts as an independent center the second nine weeks of kindergarten.  Beginning Week 9, the Squiggle is introduced as a whole group activity.  Perfect Read Alouds for the whole group lesson are “The Squiggle” by Carole Lexi Schaefer and “This is the Sun” a Crayola book I found in the Target Dollar Spot a few summers ago.  Each book discusses a line, a scribble, or a “squiggle” that can be changed into something else.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

Gradual Release of Responsibility - I do it.

After the story, show the students a piece of chart paper with many “plus signs.”  The reason I start with a “plus sign” is that the shape remains the same if it is turns upside down or sideways.  All the students to brainstorm many ideas they can make with a “plus sign.”  You hold the pen so the lesson can go quickly.  I have done the next step two different ways:  1. When teaching full-day kindergarten, I would send them back to their tables with a piece of paper that contained 1 big “plus sign” in the middle of the page.  2.  When teaching half-day kindergarten, I would let them see the paper and tell them they would have the opportunity to make a squiggle for morning work the following day.  The students are required to label their pictures, either independently or with help.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

We do it.

The second lesson starts with a quick review of the stories and the chart paper with the “plus signs.”  I would also share a few student made squiggles.  Then I would show them the new squiggle for the day, a “V.”  The chart paper shows a “v” pointing in 4 directions.  Again, the students brainstorm and you write their choices.  Again, they will either get another chance to do an independent squiggle at the table immediately or for morning work the following day.  The students would also label their picture.

The third lesson starts with another review and a few students sharing their squiggle from the day before.  Today’s lesson will include a chart paper with a “U” shape written facing 4 different ways and a sentence starter.  We talk about what the squiggle could be as I turn the page 90 degrees at a time…it could be the bottom of a boat, the side of a face, a hill for Jack and Jill, or the side of a plate.  Then, they are all given the same squiggle and asked to go illustrate and write about their picture.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

You do it.

When I first started using the Squiggle Center there was a "Squiggle of the Week."  It seemed everyone copied the person sitting closest to them and the students were not very creative.  So, we started calling it the “Secret Squiggle” and they were allowed to use a lap desk and sit anywhere in the room to complete their squiggle.  This worked for creativity, but I always hated sharing the Squiggles  at the beginning of the week because then the other students would start copying what they had seen.  Finally, the same lightning bolt that helped me make a monthly listening center booklet helped me create Squiggle Books.  Starting the second 9 weeks of the school year, students received their own Squiggle Book.  This book included 9 Squiggles and a writing space.  They are allowed to choose any Squiggle in the book, but it cannot be the same one as another person at the table.  We date stamp the squiggle so that we know when they did each squiggle.  For the first Squiggle Book, the students are not given any lines.  They are asked to label and encouraged to write a simple sight word sentence:  I see the __.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.
This is one of my favorite 2nd 9 weeks squiggles.  This shows complete understanding.  This student used what we learned from our read aloud and transferred the knowledge to his squiggle.  Each day at the end of center time, we share our centers. They have illustrated several different squiggles, so they don't always remember what someone else did before.  However, if I see too many "doors" or "lightning bolts," we outlaw that picture.

You do it...more.

The second Squiggle Book (the 3rd 9 weeks) includes lines on the paper and the students are required to write 4 sentences.  Yes, I said 4 sentences!  Years ago I developed a writing tool for helping kindergartners (or any emergent writer) write 4 sentences on a topic.  They can use this for writing.  I loved the foot squiggle.  "The [fut] is yellow.  The fut is big. The fut has a stengy (stinky) sel (smell). The fut is a slep (asleep).
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.
Want proof they understand what they are learning?  Here's another great squiggle that showed this student understood where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his speech in Washington D.C.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

You do it...to the max!

The last Squiggle Book of the year (4th 9 weeks), includes TWO squiggle lines on each page and lines that are closer together.  The two lines must be woven into one picture or one story.  The last 9 weeks, the students who write more than 4 sentences are allowed to go to the treasure box.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.
The first squiggle has two half-moon shapes.  The student made a grill and a kitchen light.  The second squiggle had two arrows pointing in opposite directions.  The student made them into the noses of two dogs,  The story is all about going to an animal shelter and getting a dog.  One dog is "adopdid" and the other did not.  It is exciting to see all the different things the students can create.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

Look what I did.

Squiggle Center is perfect for showing growth over time.  At the end of each 9 weeks, the teacher has a writing sample for growth (or lack there of).  The writing samples can be used for RtI, ESTAT, or CSC.
Squiggles are the best center for combining creativity and writing skills. Using 9 weeks booklets for your students, they can create and you can monitor their progress in one booklet.

I hope you like Squiggles as much as I do, but more importantly, as much as my students do.  I have free downloads for each 9 weeks.




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2 comments:

  1. Squiggle Center is one of my favorites. I like the idea of them each choosing a different page. I've had trouble with the kids copying each other. I'll definitely have them choose different pages next year. I love how elaborate some of the Squiggles end up being.

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  2. Thanks, Heather! I love that they have to pick a different squiggle from everyone at the table...then they have to use "their brain."

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