Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Authors as Mentors for Kindergarten

Bulletin Board display from Kindergarteners in New York City
This month many kindergarteners will be using Authors as Mentors as their unit of study. This is a time when students will use various authors as their writing teachers. They will develop styles, strategies and craft like a certain mentor writer. To do this the class will study several authors. They will read books written by the mentor authors and find what makes those writers unique.

First, a mentor author needs to be chosen to start the month. Some of the authors I have used are: Donald Crews, Ezra Jack Keats, Kevin Henkes and Tomie de Paola. As you choose your authors, they should be ones who can help students with craft. What the teacher already knows about her class of writers will help her make that choice.

After one author is chosen, the teacher will do a read aloud reading the book twice--once for enjoyment and once to look for various craft moves. Using a chart with the author's name and perhaps picture on top will be where craft moves of the book are listed. As this author is being studied, different books by him/her will be read each day. The chart will have more craft items listed on it. Students will try to model what they have learned from that day's author in their own writing.

Children will be looking at the world through writer's eyes. They will see things in a different way---a way to turn what they see into a story. In order to capture these details of their lives, they may want to carry Tiny Topic notebooks with them. They can then jot down words or sketches of things that happen in their lives. This will give them a collection of ideas to use as stories.

Lesson: Authors As Mentors: Ezra Jack Keats (The Snowy Day)
Materials: many E.J. Keats books; chart paper
You have heard lots of books this year. Your teacher has read them to you and you have even read some books. Who is the person who writes the words in a book? That’s right, the author. Who is the person who draws the pictures in a book? That’s right, the illustrator. Sometimes the author and illustrator are the same person, they do both. Today and for several days, we are going to look at one author. We are going to look at the book he wrote and see what he did that we could do as writers. Are you ready?
New Learning:
We are going to start by looking at the author Ezra Jack Keats. You have already heard many of his books. He wrote the book: The Snowy Day. I bet you have heard that book.
Let’s make a chart that says: Ezra Jack Keats, and look I have his picture right here. We will put it up here beside his name. Remember I said we are going to look at the book The Snowy Day? Well, I have the picture of the cover and I am going to put it right here.
We are going to listen to the book again. But this time I want you to be listening for things that you could do like Mr. Keats is doing. Ready? Read the book to them.
What did you notice? Pick out things like: put spaces between his words. He drew the pictures, too. Sometimes wrote only a few words on a page. His words matched his pictures.
Active Engagement:
Turn and talk to your partner about what E.J. Keats did in his book that you could do in your book today. Have a few of them share.
When you go back to your seat today, think about how you could write like Mr. Keats. He will be your writing teacher. Those of you who do something like Ezra Jack Keats will get to share. Happy writing!

No comments: