Inside SFS

Preschoolers are Our Heroes

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This month the sixth graders are writing short stories starring the North and South Class students as the protagonists.

From Sixth Grade Humanities teacher Erika Leidtke: 

The sixth graders have embarked on their short story writing projects. The heroes of their stories? Our own Preschool and Kindergarten students! Each of the 33 students is paired with a 4, 5, or 6 year old in the North and South classrooms.

Over the years, a struggle with fiction writing for me has been finding the right audience. Sixth graders loved to dive into worlds of spies, gangs, adult drama and plots that looked a lot like what you might find on Netflix. This summer while taking a Bay Area Writing Project course, I got a seed of an idea from a 6th Grade teacher at Park Day School. Her sixth graders had put younger children in the school in their fiction with positive results. 

So far we have written interview questions, met with our buddies and learned important information, such as favorite toys, secret hiding places, family make-up, and the number of loose teeth! My students were tickled pink by their young buddies, full of tales to tell when we got back to the classroom.

They went to work crafting a plot and creating a storyboard for a 3 to 5 page story. As I planned this project, I thought of the typical learning outcomes, but have encountered even richer food for thought along the way:

  • Rich conversations about how to ask a question without hiding an answer in the question or hiding our own bias. What types of questions get the best results?
  • We have to take care of these young people with our stories, our actions, our words, but that doesn’t mean dumbing the content or using boring language.
  • The interview inspired five to ten plot ideas for each 6th grader (my favorite day in writing workshop since Jessica Battilana came to visit with the Durian fruit!).
  • Students see a purposeful schedule for preschoolers providing flashbacks to our talk about teaching lessons and developmental appropriateness.
  • Sixth graders let down their defenses.

 Stay tuned for how the project turns out!





Posted March 10, 2016