In Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace Darth Maul said, “At last we shall reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we shall have revenge.” Well, that didn’t quite work out, did it? At least not then, and certainly not because of the tattooed Sith Lord. Sure, Maul killed the preachy Qui-Gon Jinn, but he in turn got cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Huh? I’m clearly out of my element. I introduced a new book in our reading center today. It is an encyclopedia of Lego Star Wars characters. Saying it was a huge hit is an understatement. The above discussion, or something like it, was taking place today between Hagan and Caleb. They are my Star Wars experts. The excitement over this new book was not unexpected. Interest inventories taken on my students clearly showed the need for this new addition. However, what happened next was unexpected. In the midst of all of the Star Wars techno-babble, the boys decided it would be great to go to the iPad and write about it. They planned out what they wanted to each write and how they would illustrate it. The discussion was amazing. Their engagement was priceless.
I am passionate about my students’ writing. We have several author studies throughout the year and I use mentor texts to inspire their writing. It is essential in teaching creative writing to provide opportunities to link writing topics to who the children are familiar with and to what excites them. Conferring with the students, having them look at their own writing and sharing their writing helps them make connections with good reading and writing skills. The use of iPads, in conjunction with systematic teaching in Reading and Writing Workshop, is producing the most advanced reading and writing that I’ve seen in the 23 years I’ve taught. The data is compelling.
Whether the students are writing on iPads, blogging, creating eBooks, or writing with pencil on paper, they are immersed in rich language all day long.
So, whether you side with Darth Maul or Obi-Wan Kenobi, I believe “The Force” is strong in kindergarten!
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