The last semester of the kindergarten year should be spent developing independence, moving from guided writing to independent writing.
Independent writing is the end goal of modeled, shared, structured, interactive, and scaffold or guided writing. As students learn the tools of self-expression and gain confidence in their mastery of writing conventions, they will become independent writers, and love the process. To optimize this move to independence, provide students with purposeful anchor charts.
During the last semester of the year it is time to turn students loose as independent writers using the resources provided at the writing center as well as using peer resources. At this time the students will begin to attend writers’ conferences with a greater purpose.
At writer's conference, the teacher becomes available in a defined area to call students over to work at individual levels, scaffolding students to greater writing success. (Always encouraging them to do more.) Daily writing conferences are not necessary, but it is important to call students over at least two to three times a week to keep students moving within their ZPD. On days that a child does not visit the teacher, I assign students to read their writings to a peer for a peer review.
As one sentence becomes easy for a student to produce, a second sentence should be added. As before, you must scaffold the students to the next level continually pushing them within their zone of proximal development.
Remember that to scaffold a student to greater heights, continual instruction must occur. Also during independent writing, allow students opportunities to read their work to others. Provide opportunities for an author’s chair during whole group times.
Eventually students will be working so independently that they will have their sentences written completely on their own. As students move into independent writing they will drop the lines themselves. Voila’! Independent writers emerge!