So friends, as we journey through this CCC together, I invite your comments and feedback. I will be periodically posting more interviews from teachers, librarians, writers, and other professionals. My goal is NOT to tell you what to do or outline lesson plans. My goal is to present the information in a pretty general way, draw connections for writers, and then see what your amazing creative spirits produce. I BELIEVE IN THE GENIUS BEHIND CHILDREN'S LITERATURE. This field is comprised by some of the most amazing, talented, creative, brilliant people I have EVER MET in ANY FIELD. What if our most creative writers truly embraced and connected their work to the CCC? It would, without a doubt, take it to a whole new level. I don't mean that any writer should FOLLOW the CCC. I simply mean that we, as writers, should be aware of the CCC and where our work fits in. We should be generous with educators, parents and students, and take the time to make the connections where they exist.
I know I have a lot of new followers since I began this series, so I want to take a sec and re-introduce myself. I am a writer of children's literature, a passionate follower and supporter of the field, and I believe that children's writers are some of the most AMAZING, selfless, caring, creative, brilliant people working in America today. My background is in education and curriculum. I have taught school (elementary, middle, high school, and college), supervised student teachers, written and revised curriculum, worked with teachers, written for educational journals, led small conferences, presented at large conferences, and engaged in many school visits. I have a heart for schools, teachers, students, and curriculum. I have a heart for GOOD children's literature.
I EARNESTLY BELIEVE THAT THE KEY TO THE COMMON CORE CURRICULUM'S SUCCESS IS CONNECTING IT TO QUALITY CHILDREN'S LITERATURE.
Even when my children were in the first grade, they recognized how awful some of the little paperback books were that they were required to read for homework. Our family would sit at the table at dinner and howl with laughter at how AWFUL they were. I mean, who would WANT to read if that's all you saw? But thankfully, those books were only a small part of their coursework. What if EVERY BOOK our children touched was EXCELLENT? We would have to turn our prisons into libraries due to supply and demand.
So that's where I'm coming from. Now get on the train with me, and let's power through this CCC. Let's do our part to support and enrich American education for all students. Let's see past our WIP and work together toward a READING REVOLUTION.
The best place to start? Well, Kindergarten, of course. That magical world...
Kindergarten- Unit 2 Tell a Story 1-2-3
While children will be sorry to end the unit on Rhyme, Rhythm, and Poetry, Unit 2 has plenty of allure. As anyone who has ever taught elementary school knows, children LOVE to tell you a story. Carpet time could last ALL DAY with children raising their hands to tell you a story, and that's a great way to start this unit.
WE ALL HAVE A STORY, and NO TWO STORIES ARE THE SAME. However, we can learn to structure our stories in certain ways that will help children learn the parts of the story--the beginning, the middle, and the end. Children will think about, discern, and re-tell the ORDER OF EVENTS. They will begin to answer simple questions about stories they read. What happened FIRST? What happened NEXT? And so on.
Children will tell stories verbally, in pictures, with manipulatives, and in writing. Children will tell stories about a shared experience, and note the differences between points of view of different students.
This unit also emphasizes the use of counting books, a natural connection when looking at order and structure in a story.
So many books jump out to me in this category, and at this time, I'm going to resist mentioning specific books. I want YOU to think creatively about it.
For writers? Educators will need and want the following:
1. AWESOME, fun, smart counting books.
2. Children's literature where some (or all) of the story is told through amazing illustrations. Or, even better, when a whole different story is told through the illustrations that children can follow.
3. Great cause and effect books that play well into questions like....what happened first? (inciting incident-writers) THEN what happened? Books that build one event upon another are great examples....IF YOU.....THEN....
4. Great stories of commonly understood events told from a different perspective (here's where the whole fractured fairy tale thing will be great)
5. A brilliant rhyming counting book that builds one event upon another would be a perfect bridge from Unit 1 to Unit 2.
Writers, sharpen those pencils and get to work. Our children deserve the BEST.
Illustrators, this six week unit offers so many creative opportunities in illustration. These early readers just DEVOUR the pictures, they catch EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. You can do your most creative work here in this category, and know that the children will delight in every stroke.
Now GO FORTH AND CREATE!
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.