The little cherubs gathered around me today with wide eyes and big smiles. I was visiting their class for the first time. We talked about how we loved to tell stories, stories about our lives, stories that happened every day. We talked about how we needed to write our stories so others could read them over and over, even when we weren't around.
I told them the story of how we had to take Nickey, the cat, to the vet last night. They stared and hung on my every word. They asked questions and told me about their cats. Then I drew my pictures and labeled my pictures. I asked if they would laugh at how I drew. They assured me they would not. So, I drew and labeled. "Now," I said, "You can read my story even when I am not with you." They loved that.
They turned to their partners and shared what they were planning on writing. They shared their stories. Stories about pets. Stories about birthdays. Stories about playing basketball. They went happily back to their seats to start their stories, pictures and labels.
As they were all busy writing, I sat next to several of them and was thrilled that they were not hesitant to draw. They tackled it with eager pencils and crayons. Their teacher had noticed the reluctance in the past. But, not today. Today they had stories to tell.
The teacher slid up next to me and in a low voice said, "Go check out L___"s story." So, I walked slowly up to her table and sat down. "Tell me your story." I said. She proceeded to tell me about walking her dog. She had a house on one side of the paper and a tree on the other. They were as tall as the paper. In the middle was the dog and girl. The dog was facing the tree. Quite clearly the dog was doing what he was supposed to be doing when he went for a walk and came to a tree. I loved it. I had to have a copy. Here is pure workshop with kiddos writing real stories of their lives.
I doubt if this will ever be a prompt on the ISTEP test, but if it is, we are ready!