We Are Authors; Playful Literacies in EY3

The EY3 children embarked on a journey of creativity for their How we express ourselves unit. One of our weekly provocations supported young children to become authors.  So, here is a reflection on how it went.

The challenge was to become an author. Only using paper, drawing tools, an imagination, no written words and to share with their friends during their Friday meeting.  Matt Glover states that, “For many children, choice equals control, and since we want children to develop strong images of themselves as writers, we want them to have as much control over the writing process as is beneficial,” (Glover).

With this information at the forefront and ensuring that children had experiences to use their voice, choice and ownership (IBO), the children were given a week to complete their books.  This gave the children responsibility for their work. They were agentic with the words used to represent their story, how much time they wanted to complete it, the content of the book, how many pages they used, whether it was fiction or non-fiction. Honestly, the list could go on for a long time!

Given the opportunity to create freely, with the pressure of writing removed the children developed imaginative stories that they were proud to share with one another. Our first author’s meeting had an array of books:

Non-fiction: Jack and His Life by Jack and My Families Book by Izia

Fiction:

Inspirational: Basketball Story by Zaara

Health: Unicorn Learns to Eat Healthy by Vibha, A Fat Person by Aloys

Social: Friendship Story by Deana and Lulu and the Crocodile by Lilou

Action: Dark Bunny Needs our Help by Santiago

Familiar Characters: Hello Kitty by Asiya, Sleeping Beauty by Aaradhya, Super Mario by Aurelia

What an array of a literature! The children enjoyed listening to and creating their own books, that they requested it again for many weeks to come. What unravelled over time was amazing. They co-constructed criteria to make their books, this included: a title and the author’s name; to use writing tools; to include a main idea; to use our thinking mind. They wrote books about mysterious creatures, themselves and created video stories.  The children became more confident at creating stories, orating stories and giving feedback to friends. Children who struggled to share their ideas at the beginning became empowered and generated some super ideas. Children who were eager to share, at the beginning of the unit, decided they wanted to scribe their own books, thus, promoting learning without being asked to do so! It is clear to see that speaking, listening, symbolic exploration, self-esteem, creativity and personal, social awareness was developed. (MIS 2019)

Now, here is the sneaky part that I missed. For the purpose of enhancing my own knowledge gained from a professional development course taken over the Summer, I wanted to track if children enhanced their work when retelling stories or if they forgot parts of the story. So, the children pre-recorded their stories prior to the meeting. Believe it or not, when the children read their stories to a live audience, they remembered their original story and made improvements, demonstrating editing skills too! (Fahey 2020)

Reflecting on MIS Definition of Learning (2018), it is clear that the children have learned through experiences that are Learner Centric- their voice and choice of what to create; Experiential- creating and sharing their own authored work with peers;  Applicable-  improving on their skills week by week; Social- through the sharing with others; Constructive- giving peer feedback; Contextual- they used their own ideas and representations of them;  Conceptual- understanding what an author is and developing skills to be an author; Emotional- feeling proud of accomplishments and sharing pride with their peers; Metacognitive- the desire to do better week upon week and thinking of their own next steps for learning.

What amazing learners they are!

By Chantell Nawrocki

Citations

Ambrose, Susan. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Hoboken, New Jersey: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print

Fahey, Jo. Playful Literacies: honouring children’s agency. Professional Learning International, July 2020, retreats.professionallearninginternational.com/jofaheyonline

Glover, M. (2009). Engaging young writers: Preschool-Grade 1. Heinemann.Short, K.G.,

IBO. “PYP Resources – Home – IB Programme Resources.” Ibo.Org, 2020, resources.ibo.org/pyp/works/pyp_11162-51463?lang=en. Accessed 2 Nov. 2020.

MIS. “Mahindra International School – Definition of Learning.” (2018).

MIS. “Mahindra International School – Mission Statement.” (2019).

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