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Praire Days to launch workshops

WOW, what a start to the new school year!  I have been in a remote learning environment for a week and one thing is for certain, CHILDREN LOVE TO BE READ TO, EVEN IN A GOOGLE MEET.  I have spent a great deal of time pondering how to launch reader’s and writer’s workshops this year. I have always known that picture books would have to play an important role in the launch, more now than ever before.  Recording myself reading a book and finding recordings of authors reading their work is important, but it is even more important for the students to see me HOLD a book, turn the pages and discuss my thinking out loud.  They need to see me as a reader!

As part of this year’s  launch to reader’s and writers’ workshops, we discussed how people, “read like writers and write like readers.”  I asked students to think about the pictures that were created in their minds as I read aloud Prairie Days by Patricia Maclachlan,  illustrated by Micha Archer.  After reading, I  asked the students to draw me a picture of the image in their notebooks.  All of the pictures were so different, but each captured the essence of the story.  I learned so much about my readers; they are thoughtful souls who think deeply and they are great artists.

Finally, I asked the students to take a picture of the drawing with their Chrome book, find the picture in their Drive folder, and email it to me as an attachment.  Not all of the pictures are of a high quality and the students still need to practice taking GOOD pictures, but they DID IT!  They are growing as readers and writers AND incorporating a level of technological skill that I have never seen in fall fourth graders before.  

There is so much involved in starting a new school year, regardless of whether it is virtual or traditional as we knew it.  Launching reader’s and writers’ workshops is a constant,  as is reading to children.  Fourth graders love to be read to, they love to draw and they love a variety of genres, especially in picture books. Remote or in person, it is reassuring and comforting to know that some things never change about the start of a new school year, and for that I am grateful. 

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