Modify and Accommodate: Building Trust

Many times when I sit down to blog I have a thousand thoughts swirling in my head. Not sure which direction I want to go, I let my ideas percolate, I ramble and then I focus on what I want to reflect on and share. This week my kinders “published” their first ALL ABOUT books. It was a long process with many mini lessons. I modeled, asked and answered questions and brainstormed ideas with the kinders. The children made Tiny Topics Notebooks and jotted down topics that might become an All About book. We read many information books that helped them learn about chapters, Table of Contents, and writing sentences that supported their topic. And then they drew. We spent a few weeks working and completing this book. My kinders were not only authors, but illustrators of their books as well. I write about this because the end result was so much more than I anticipated. When I looked at my students as we introduced this new assignment in our Writing Workshop, their faces showed a wide range of emotions from understanding, interest, excitement, uncertainty, and in some faces, fearfulness (overwhelmed by the expectations). The document camera and Smart Board (IWB) made a tremendous difference as it allowed me to demonstrate each lesson more clearly and visibly; as a frame of reference for their questions to better understand the concept. We also had Anchor Charts on the SB to help with the groundwork and procedure to write All About books. Some students easily transitioned from their Tiny Topics Notebook to the graphic organizer web template we made to lay out their story. Others needed various degrees of support. We scaffolded as the need arose; modifying lessons to accommodate the needs of the children. The expectations however were clear for the kinders. The process and steps were the same for all my kinders. The amount of time varied to meet their needs. They revisited and edited their drafts. When they were done, they started on their illustrations. After a few sessions they all were able to publish their books. One of the kinder teachers introduced the idea of a “Share Fair” and first we had our own class take turns reading their All About books to each other. They worked in pairs, read their books and asked questions: Just like they do during our read alouds! Then we had a chance to do the same Share Fair with the other kinder class. Some kinders were so excited, proud and eager to share their stories. Some needed reassurance and practice with a teacher standing close by. And, then, I also had one student that froze with fear that he wouldn’t be able to read his book. (We have a few students who struggle with reading and writing. With various degrees of support they are learning to work more independently.) We practiced together and each successful sentence in his “chapter” became a victory over his fear. I was so proud of him for many reasons, one of which was that he trusted me to help him and he trusted himself to let go of his fear and read what he could. He was of our success stories. He did it! Many children wrote great books and worked so well in sharing them. They were kind and respectful to each other, taking turns, reading their books to a number of children.
And I to learned from my students. I learned about listening to them and really hearing what they had to say. I listened to their needs, checked for understanding, scaffolded, modified and accommodated so that they would not only feel successful BUT be successful. Curious to know how you have worked with a group of young children with a wide range of skills their writing?


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2 Responses to Modify and Accommodate: Building Trust

  1. Patty Nault says:

    You’ve shown how amazing even the youngest authors and illustrators can be! I can’t wait to share All About how your Kinders wrote All About stories with my Kinders. They all have so much to teach us. I was thrilled to see how useful a document camera was throughout the process. Our PTO will be purchasing them for every classroom for next year. I’m excited to explore the many possibilities for its use.
    I’ve also been using and introducing Pic collage thanks to you. Keep the posts coming! I enjoy them all.

    • faige says:

      Thank you for reading post. Love the document camera. It has really worked wonders! So glad to hear from you. Do you do Writing Workdhop with your kinders?

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