Building a Community of Writers
in a First Grade Classroom

Mattie Davis , Frederick Douglass Elementary School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Where do I teach?

What are my students learning?

Teaching Practice
What's my approach?

Student Work






Building Rituals and Routines Teaching Writing Conferencing with Students

Content (excerpted from an interview)

The literacy block is a 120 minute period of time that consists of curriculum focusing on reading, writing, listening, speaking. With some exception, this site reflects this particular time in my classroom. However it's important to point out that I believe writing is a process, it’s not a subject, it runs across all disciplines. I usually integrate science, math and social studies more authentically. But what ended up being reflected on the majority of the videotapes on this web site is the literacy block.

This year, so many of my students were reluctant writers, very reluctant. A number of them were at our school for kindergarten but it was the first year for them with the Voyager Literacy program. The books in this program are wonderful, but because of the reading focus of this curriculum there was little time spent within the kindergarten program for the writing component. If I went exactly with what that curriculum specified there would be little time for the writing component in first grade as well. So, I wanted to let the children see that we’re all writers, which is what I hope is reflected in this site. As Peter Alba says, “Just write. Just write. Just write for the sake of writing. Just write.” Focusing on writing with first graders where they feel comfortable let me see that even the children who were struggling with print began to feel comfortable with it.



To view the videos on this site, you will need to download and install the following:  QuickTime Player 6 or higher or Windows Media Player 9 or higher.  Older versions of these players will not support the video media files on this site.  You may also need Acrobat Reader (for PDF documents) and the Flash Player (for assorted other media files).

Site last updated March 15, 2006