Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Really Cool Idea!

If you read my literacy blog, then you have probably already seen this post.  I'm sharing it with my kindergarten friends because I think this website is awesome for young writers!  The process is really very easy.  We have a scanner at home, but you could also do this by taking pictures of your child's artwork. 

Here's the post:

Yep, my daughter is a published author.  Her first addition, hardbound book, arrived in the mail yesterday.  She dedicated her book to her family.  Awww.

Ok, so the truth is, I found this GREAT website, run by Barnes and Noble.  It's called Tikatok.  I showed it to my daughter and we were able to read several featured stories, written by other kids.  She was so excited to get started!  I'll walk you through the process in a future post.  For now, you should just check out the site.  (By the way, I don't receive any compensation from the company.  I was just really excited to find this resource.)

I can't even begin to tell you the smiles and giggles coming from my little girl, when her book arrived.

There's even a great About the Author page on the back of the book.

Oh, so much fun!  I'll try to get a post out, this weekend, including the nuts and bolts of how this works.  It's pretty cool, very simple, and highly motivating for young writers.

Happy writing!
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We're Authors!

Over the past few weeks, we've been really diving into our books by Gail Gibbons.  If you're not familiar with her work, take a trip to the library and find a few.  They are great for inspiring young authors and illustrators!

We talked about the way Gail Gibbons divides up the page to show different things.  Sometimes she shows a sequence of events.  Other times she shows different things, on a common topic. 

We've been noticing how often she uses labels in her illustrations, which we've been adding to our work as well.

During our Writer's Workshop time, I encourage kids to try a few of these ideas.  I don't require that they try something new, but wait for kids to show an interest and then nudge them in that direction.  Using authors as mentors in our writing has really made us fabulous authors!

With Spring upon us, we went outside this week to do a little research.  We looked for signs that Spring is here.  Each child had 4 sticky notes, and there job was to find 4 different things that reminded them of Spring.  We've been reading lots of Spring books in the classroom, so they knew what to look for. I told the kids that the sticky notes were just to keep their ideas on.  They didn't need to be fancy pictures, just a quick sketch and a label.

The next day, I began modeling how we can turn these four ideas, on four sticky notes, into a four page book.  Again, we looked to Gail Gibbons for inspiration and several kids were ready to try something new with their writing and illustrating.

In the next picture, this student is showing how a plant grows and changes.  We spotted some hyacinths in one of our planters.  He told me he didn't know, for sure, if this is what it would look like as it was growing, but that he was using his schema about plants to make his guess.  I just about melted into a puddle on the floor, when I heard those words come out of my little guy's mouth!  Happy teacher!

We talked about how Gail Gibbons usually has a sentence on each page, in addition to her illustrations and labels.  This page is a work in progress. "A little plant is growing."

This student wrote, "I see stuff in Spring."  He told me that for the first page of the book, he wanted to include 4 different things he sees.  Then he'd do some close up pictures on the next pages.  This was another of the ideas Gail Gibbons uses in her books. 

This one is a little more difficult to read.  The first sentence says, "I see trees."  Then he made three different pictures, in a sequence of events.  The first one shows a dirt mound and a seed, with labels. Then, a little plant growing, and finally a tree.

All of these kids are continuing to work on their books.  I wanted to take pictures of their work in progress to show you what we've been up to.  The kids know that writing is hard work in kindergarten!  We have learned to build our stamina for writing, and not expect to be finished in the first ten minutes with a project.  We have learned to use authors as mentors and think like writers.  Most importantly, we're authors!

Happy writing!
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