The desire to write grows with writing.-Desiderius Erasmus
Empowerment of students is both difficult and simple. The difficult part is not knowing what your outcome will be. As a teacher, not knowing can be scary. The simple part is allowing the student to be the artist and drive in the direction they are interested. Once you've done this a few times, not only do you feel how amazing the lab energy is, but you realize all the interests you might overlook if you have -too much- control as the teacher.
In my kindergarten classes we have been talking about authors and illustrators. We had the amazing Greg Pizzoli visit our school, and that was a real treat! He spoke about writing and drawing the worlds his characters live in, and even how he lets those worlds overlap with hidden 'easter eggs.' After testing some of the techniques that different illustrators used in their storybooks, our work culminated in the kindergarten artists creating their very own book! We talked about the main ingredients we found in books; a beginning, middle, and end. After deciding a story could be told with or without words, the students were ready to go.
I had prepared small bound booklets using white construction paper. I cut the 9x12" paper in half and then folded the paper so the final book size was 4.5x6". Next, I cut yellow construction paper in quarters, which made those pieces 4.5x6". I placed two sheets of folded construction paper together, and using an electric stapler, I staple bound the edges of all the white booklets. The finishing touch was taking the yellow paper and, using a glue stick, covering the staples on the front and back of the booklet. I allowed about one inch of yellow paper to show on the front and the remainder to wrap around the back. This gave me a place to write student names and allowed me to clearly show students the front and back of the book. Don't underestimate how helpful that is with younger students!
I was so happy with this project. The students were eager and totally engaged. They were so excited to 'read' their books to me. I was able to emphasize detail by asking students to go back and fill in blank areas on their pages. I also got to see some fascinating student interests. It is always great to get to know my friends better!