Last week I had a range of experiences: presenting to administrators and district leaders from across the country, presenting to 4-6 teachers on the new curriculum, creating resources on morphology for teachers and students, and working as a writer-in-residence with grade 1-4 students. The highlight, though, was in a grade one class.
Students were engaged and excited about the creative process, using their imaginations to create characters and sequential stories, in many ways oblivious to the many skills they were using to accomplish this complex task.
One student decided to use her own recent experience–the death of her pet–as the basis of her narrative. As she and I talked through her ideas, I had the privilege of witnessing this little one process her loss. As she began writing, she was able to express both her grief and her acceptance on the page–through story.
Was she creating a transformation story? Did she connect the plot pattern in the mentor texts with her own experience? Was she using her phonetic knowledge to spell words on the page? Was she sequencing her thoughts with each sentence she wrote? Was she attending to conventions such as punctuation and capitalization?
Yes to all.
More importantly though, she was working through one of her first experiences with grief.