Prep authors hone their craft

The Year 1s have been busy writing and illustrating stories for their upcoming virtual book launch.
Storytelling is the focus of a unit on self-expression for the young learners. With the guidance of teacher Christie Gordon, students consider who tells stories and why, before delving into the components of a story. They read many stories as a group, learning about plot and arc, and to acquire an understanding of character and setting and how various parts of speech bring tales to life.

"There’s a big focus on fairy tales and fables, so a lot of that is reflected in their writing," says Gordon. "We also look at how stories are told in song, both with and without words."
As part of the learning process, each of the Year 1 cohorts created a short film about a fairy tale, The Gingerbread Man, which in their hands became The Jazzy Gingerbread Man. They acted with a green screen and "fellow teacher Darren Mossman used his technical skills to make them amazing," Gordon says. 

Every student has also written a story: drafting, revising and editing the text, and using feedback from classmates to reach a final version.

"We were able to talk about what helpful feedback looks and sounds like," says Gordon, noting that it's a lesson that will serve them well in the future.

Once the texts are ready, the Year 1s illustrate their stories under the direction of Monika Kastelic, the Prep School arts coordinator, working with mixed media to create their illustrations using collage, pastels and paint. 

"They are super-excited and so proud of their work," Kastelic says.

When the illustrations are completed, the books will be bound so that each student has an original work to keep.

During an ordinary year, Gordon and Kastelic would host a book launch on campus where families would be invited to see all of the printed copies and join in a collaborative art project. This year, it's an event that will have to take place virtually, something the two teachers are in the process of planning. 

"We'll have a celebration of learning when the illustrations are finished," says Gordon. "Reading in Year 1 develops so quickly. This is an opportunity for students to show off their in-progress skills." 

The joy of being a "published" author, multiplied by 19, should be quite the virtual party.
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