We began our Author Study in kindergarten this past Monday, and I wanted to share with you how we got started. I feel very much like we are driving down a highway without a map - an experience that is nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time! Not surprisingly, the students are meeting our expectations - and then some!
We began on Monday with an introduction of our mentor text, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I asked the students to first listen to the story as readers, and then they shared what they liked about the story. Some of their responses included "all of the food the caterpillar ate"; "How beautiful the butterfly was at the end"; and, of course, the part where the caterpillar was big and "fat"!
I read the book again, this time asking the students to listen and look for the writing and illustration moves that Eric Carle made to help his readers enjoy the book as much as they did. We charted what they noticed.
After I read the story, we added a list to our Noticings chart of insects, animals, etc., that the students might choose from to write their own "The Very Hungry..." book. I asked the students to think hard about what animal/insect/etc. they would like to have as the main character of their book, and they each chose one. The writing work for the day was to go back and begin creating (sketching, drawing, and coloring) their main character. Prewriting! We had everything from turtles to ladybugs to sharks to "harantulas"!! The students were so excited, you could feel the energy in the classroom!
Today, we read the story once more, but this time I asked them to pay attention to the structure of the story - Carle's use of the days of the week and the growing number of foods the caterpillar eats as the story progresses. I made a chart and, after the read- aloud, we talked about how the story was put together.
I was simply amazed by the work these students did with this assignment. There were ascending lists of numbered foods; there was color; there was humor (ice cream sandwiches, sandwiches without crusts); there was such focus and purpose!! I promise to share some examples on Sunday :)
So, that's where we are. Tomorrow I am going to read a counting book and ask the students to pay close attention to the match between the number of items pictured and the number written in the text. We will then be ready to begin our drafts! Sweet!!
I will chat with you again on Sunday!