"In this third six-week unit of kindergarten, students explore fictional characters in literary texts and neighborhoods in informational texts." Common Core Curriculum Map
Yahoo! What could be more fun to read about than friends in the neighborhood? I just LOVE this unit, and I have to confess, it reminds me of Mister Rogers. The main thrust of this unit is encouraging student comprehension in a body of writing. They will begin to identify CHARACTER, SETTING, and MAJOR EVENTS in a story. The ability to identify these three things will naturally lead into the ability to answer questions and re-tell details from a text. Again, students will be able to do these things orally, in writing, and with pictures. They will continue to work on their COMPARE and CONTRAST skills (great opportunity to look at prepositional opposites IN vs. OUT, UP vs. DOWN,etc). They will work on the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY questions about text. They will begin to differentiate between FICTION and NONFICTION.
So....as writers, you have lots of fun things to supply the teachers and learners in this segment.
1. Think about stories with opposites--opposite characters, opposite settings, opposite attempts to solve the problem of the story.
2. Think about stories set in familiar 'neighborhoods' with the character(s) interacting in that neighborhood/community.
3. Think about stories that show the role of different occupations in the community. (Remember the old Sesame Street song? "These are the people in the neighborhood...") Could you juxtapose two character 'opposites' in the problem of a story? For example, a chef whose goals are the opposite of the fireman's? Can you see where a chef cooking on an open flame might conflict with the views of the fireman? Or perhaps a stuntman whose brother is a worried Emergency Room doctor? Can you see some potential conflicts? Now get that conflict nailed down in a way that appeals to kids.
4. Think about stories where the character encounters opposites--opposite settings, opposite advice, opposite directions....
5. Think about similar situations (in, perhaps, more than one story) when different characters handle a similar situation in a very different way. Do they get different results? Or same results? Why?
"Lots of ways to skin a cat" kind of thing.
6. This category offers many opportunities for nonfiction, as well. At this age, I took my boys to the waste management facility in our town because they were truly interested in where their, um, poop went. These are the day to day logistics that we, as adults, take for granted, but children are inquisitive. How does the water get into our bathroom spigot? How does our mail get from Grandma's mailbox to ours? Why do we have to brush our teeth? (now that's a good compare/contrast opportunity...ha) Where does the garbage go when the garbage men pick it up ?
All this fun stuff ALMOST makes me want to teach kindergarteners again. What a magical, glorious age. Let's give them the best we've got in terms of literature, characters, and nonfiction books. When they reinforce the curriculum, we help and support the teachers, as well. And remember, it's not just about WRITING excellent books, we should help make these curricular connections, as well. I'm not saying to write a book based on the curriculum, but when your book correlates with it, point it out! Draw a connection anywhere you can. That's a help to our educators, parents, and ultimately, the children.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if any of this information is having an impact on your writing. It certainly has me thinking...
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.