Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Being a writer
Every year my school has a writing celebration called I Heart Writing. We make a huge deal over our little authors, praise their hard work, celebrate their published pieces and discuss the writing process. It is one of my favorite days all year. I love how excited the children are to share their work and I love their pride in their published pieces. This year, however, I was a bit worried about how it would go. I have some children who are able to write books, even if it is just drawing pictures of one topic. Three of my children do not write or even draw. How were we going to come up with a published piece for them to share? After a lot of watching and observing what they can do as writers I did something a little different with each one. I had Brown Bear use the doll house to retell Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Of course he added his Angry Bird doll in as well. While he acted out the story I took pictures of each scene. We printed the pictures and had him put them in order. Then I printed out the words "goldilocks"' "baby bear" and other key nouns and had him label the pictures- working on his understanding that print contains meaning. On I Heart Writing day he could show us the pictures and tell us the story, pointing to the labels to "read" his work. It wasn't I writing, but it was a composed story that he told in sequential order. It stayed the same every time and the words contained meaning. And it was a pretty good book to read too. For another one of my students I had little tiny cut out bears. He glued these to different pages and narrated what the bears were doing to me. I typed out his words and let him glue the sentences down on the page. He too was able to begin to understand the concept of a story- that it is the same every time and the pictures and words match. Magical was able to draw a bit of his story although no one but Magical would know what it was. His sentences were simple, "Mom is resting", "mom is shopping". I typed the three word sentences out for him and then cut them up. Magical had to read the three words, put them in order so they made his sentence, and then glue them down. In the end he had a book he could read that he had composed himself. Clearly I have a long term goal that these little ones will write their own compositions one day. But for right now we were able to find a way to celebrate where they are by publishing books just like every one else. The celebration was a huge hit and they we're all super proud of their work. Now it's time to take that pride and turn it into motivation to work hard on our next published piece!