Senior Kindergarten (SK) teacher Katie Paige knows kindergarteners have a lot to say. They never miss a beat if you ask them to tell you a story, but ask them to write a book—that might be met with silence. Not for Parker’s SK students. During writer’s workshop, students are experienced authors writing and constructing how-to manuals on making cookies or talking about their “firsts.”
The writer’s workshop is Katie’s favorite project for her students because it helps them find their voice as a writer. The workshop begins with a writing prompt like “my first…” and students fill in the blank—the first time they lost a tooth, their first family pet, or tried a new food. Then, through lessons on simple sentence structure, they learn to build their personal stories.
After the storylines are chosen, the next step is to construct their books. With glue and construction paper, students build their books from cover to cover—every day building a piece of art page by page.
“I love this project for my students,” says Katie. “Everyone goes at their own pace. Some get one page done and others might hammer out three pages in one day. It’s really cool to see them take pride in their stories.”
For Katie, the writer’s workshop is more than introducing the concept of first, next, and last in writing; it is an opportunity for her students to become good storytellers.
“I am constantly challenging my students to reread their work, encouraging them to look at what they can revise and what they could add to the story,” says Katie. “They even get to do peer reviews of their books.”
Katie started at Parker in September 2018, bringing with her more than seven years of teaching experience. Originally from Massachusetts, Katie says she is enjoying the Southern California winters but, most of all, she is enjoying being a part of the SK team at Parker.
“I have great colleagues. We collaborate so much and we’ve even incorporated some of my ideas into the curriculum.”
Katie says what she loves the most about Parker is its sense of community.
“I never worked for a place that offered so many professional development opportunities and chances to get to know my colleagues outside of the classroom,” says Katie. “It certainly has made me feel connected and welcome.”
I never worked for a place that offered so many professional development opportunities and chances to get to know my colleagues outside of the classroom—it certainly has made me feel connected and welcome.