Through the ages and in everyday life, families, friends and communities are knit together by stories. This process of creating and telling stories can be taught and cultivated in the early years. The York School Senior Kindergarten class took their love of literacy to the next level.
The students in the Senior Kindergarten A class at The York School are published authors! Stories and non-fiction texts create the foundation for rich literacy programming and learning in the early years. This love for literacy is developed through frequent read-alouds, access to provoking texts in the classroom, environmental print, and space for literacy creation in the classroom.
In addition, the SK class dedicates time to learn to write and and practice during Writer’s Workshop period in class.
Using mentor texts (favourite titles from the beloved library delivered by Librarian Ms. Larcina), students learned about book structure:
table of contents,
Units of Inquiry - IB Primary Years Programme
Unit: Who We Are: Roles and responsibilities are influenced by their surroundings
Our Units of Inquiry act as springboards for learning through investigation, and so, we began writing books using our first, full-year unit as a base (Who We Are: Roles and responsibilities are influenced by their surroundings). Students wrote about themselves as members of our class community, The York School community, their family community, and the wider community. Using prompts like, “I am”, “I can”, and “I like”, students reflected on themselves as learners in simple, 4-page books: I am a sister, I can run fast, I like art class.
Unit: How We Express Ourselves: Creativity inspires communication
Learning about illustrators and creative choice supported students as they inquired further into our second, full-year unit, How We Express Ourselves: Creativity inspires communication. This concept enabled students to enhance details in illustrations, make picture-to-text connections, and help make sense of the text, a reading comprehension strategy that marries beautifully with book creation.
Unit: Sharing the Planet: Shelters are influenced by change
Late in 2020, students were introduced to our third unit, Sharing the Planet: Shelters are influenced by change. This unit provided the groundwork for inquiry around both human and animal shelters, and why shelters change depending on geography, climate change, and natural disaster. A “Who Am I?” game quickly turned into the basis for book-creating! Students wrote books to “stump” each other: I have black fur. I eat fish. I hibernate. Who am I?
Unit: How The World Works: Living things rely on their senses to interpret the world around them
Our current, and fourth unit, How The World Works: Living things rely on their senses to interpret the world around them, saw the offering of 5-page books with professional, laminated cover pages. In this unit, students used their in-depth knowledge of book-creation to investigate The 5 Senses: I see, I hear, I feel, I taste, I smell.
Every completed book is displayed for our fellow readers and writers to enjoy on the shelf in the Book Nook; books that are unfinished live in our cubbies to complete whenever the mood strikes. Students take great pride in the creative processes, in overcoming challenges, in their published products, and in sharing with their peers; as educators, we are literacy-loving partners in their learning journey.
As we have done in the past, The York School looks forward to the day we can host children’s book authors again.
Read the Junior School’s experience from meeting their author heroes ‘in real life’ in the article: