Hello Kindergarten Families!
We have been having so many deep-thinking discussions that I have been wanting to share with you. My days without a computer were so hard for me because I have been wishing to share all this with you! So I will try to catch up on my backlogged list of things to do.
This blog post is sharing some of the discussions we have been having specifically about the students' stories. I really hope you will take the time to read it all! I was fascinated by their ideas about the word fat and the concept of being uncomfortable with a story that has a monster in it who would make people fat. As we often do, we had some time to think about it after our first discussion and the second discussion brought up more ideas. These students are becoming so capable of identifying different angles to a problem and thinking about others.
On top of all this, we are getting so excited about Exhibition Night! The kids' work is so special and their game is going to be pretty fun to play. I can't wait for each of you to enjoy the night with your child!
Have a beautiful evening, Jennifer
April 16th-18th, 2013
Feedback for Lukas:
Jennifer: What really worked for me was that you used the word powerful, so that I felt that I could really tell more information about the rocket, because you used a descriptive word.
Lia: Why did, in the beginning, it said it was going to Pluto it said you past Mars, and I didn't really get it.
Lukas: Because Pluto is the 10th planet and Mars is after ours, so that's why we said it past Mars, because he past it and didn't land.
Jennifer: Lukas, I was thinking that we don't know why the astronaut is going to Pluto.
Mason: Did the astronaut want to get something special or weird and creepy at Pluto?
Lukas: So the astronaut is going to bring stuff back, but not weird and creepy. It's more like Pluto rocks and stuff like that.
Lukas decided to share this information in his story.
Feedback for Joshua's Story:
Ethan: I didn't understand because why did the monster make people fat.
Alicen: You think you could change the part where he jumped in the hole and Johnny ran away because it sounds like he ran away because he jumped in the hole.
Mason: Why, when the monster jumped on the cliff, I heard two jumping on the cliff. It happens too often, I don't really hear that in books, I just want to know why.
Brianna: You could change the fat part because it's kind of inappropriate for me.
Joshua: When I'm done with it, you don't have to read it.
Alicen: My mom says it's unappropriate for me and my sisters. Because my mom doesn't like people saying that they're fat.
Jennifer: But does this mean we can't write a story that involves the word fat?
Joshua: Somebody doesn't have to get forced to do that.
Mason: If you use a word fat of people, then it makes it unaprprpiate if you say fat of people. Because you're talking about people, that makes them feel bad, but when you're talking about made-up people, that just don't really live, it's fine.
Jennifer: Would you feel uncomfortable reading a story about made up people calling each other fat?
Ethan: But this is the difference, if somebody's around you fat, and you're just reading a story of a person that is fat, you have to ask them if it's okay. We don't want to make the person feel bad, if the person is fat, then it would hurt their feelings.
Amelie: It's not so scary.
Rachel: Maybe you could say, it's not so fat, it's kind of fat, like it's kind of fat and kind of not fat.
Lia: I think the fat part shouldn't be in the story because it makes me uncomfortable to hear the word fat.
Jennifer: Why does the word fat make us uncomfortable?
Brianna: Because it kind of feels kind of mean, when you have a baby or something and they say you are fat and it kind of hurts your feelings.
Rowan: Maybe it would be okay, if he was just pretending.
Katie: (she would be okay) Because no body is fat.
Mason: Like no body's fat in this class.
Jennifer: What is fat anyways?
Katie: When you eat a lot of pizzas.
Mason: When you're fat, your tummy gets really big.
Katie: Let's just say if somebody eats a lot of donuts, it would make them fat.
Jennifer: Why does it make people feel so bad to be called fat?
Lukas: Because some might not like being fat.
Demetri: It could hurt your feelings.
Lia: Because they might not want to be fat, even if they are fat. I wouldn't feel really good that someone called me that, because I don't really like when other people call other people names.
Mason: Sometimes when people call people names, the name that they put for people is a bad word.
Jennifer: Why do you think they do that?
Mason: Maybe they didn't learn so much about good.
Jennifer: Why would people call people names? Who has called a name? (Many students raised their hand) Why did you do it?
Lia: Because I was mad.
Preston: Because one time I was mad at someone.
Rowan: I called my brother a name when I was trying to be silly.
Ethan: I was just trying to have fun with my two sisters and I just called them a name and they just got angry so they called me a name.
Here, the class agreed to think about why a monster making people fat story might make us uncomfortable. We will talk further after everyone has time to think.
April 18th, 2013
We revised the story and the idea of including a monster that makes people fat. Joshua explained that his monster makes people fat at first and then people teach him not to be mean.
Malaya explained that she doesn't like when people are being called fat.
Evelyn: I feel comfortable reading the story because it teaches you a lesson to be nice to people.
Jennifer: So it's worth it?
Brianna: You could just not have that parts.
Natalie: Then if you wouldn't say that part it wouldn't make sense.
Mason: I'm not comfortable, because when everybody reads that book, I'll be hearing 'fat', all the time.
Joshua: There's not gonna be fat in every page.
Jennifer: Do you think the reader might learn from the book and not use the word?
Many say, "Yeah."
Kayla: I don't think the word fat is good, because mom says it's a bad word.
Jennifer: Why is it a bad word?
Kayla: Because if I say, "You're fat", she kind of gets a little mad.
Joshua: You're not gonna be saying it to people in real life.
Mason: When I asked my mom if fat is a bad word, she said it is medium.
Malaya: My mom thinks fat is uncomfortable for us, because it's only if you're healthy or not.
Jennifer: If this book is going to give such a powerful message, do we not write it because of the word fat? The story line is that the monster does something mean and then learns not to. He's gonna have to be mean in some way to learn not to.
Malaya: Your story is really special, but people could still think it's not a good word for little kids.
Brianna: Maybe he can change the fatness mean and do something else mean.
Jennifer: But the something else mean, might still make you feel uncomfortable.
Amelie: I think you just can leave it.
Lia: Now I'm okay with the word fat in the story, because I heard the story out loud, because at the end he's going to be nice.
Jennifer: And the story might make us think about what words we're choosing.
In the end, some friends still aren't sure if they would like a story with this topic, but most of the students did feel as though they would like that it would be teaching a lesson.
This was a powerful discussion because as authors, we are realizing that we have to think about our audience and the message that our words and illustrations will put out into the world.
Feedback for Rachel's Story:
Evelyn: What I can't understand is that in the beginning of the page, you said it was a unicorn and then on another line you're saying it's a horse.
(Rachel realized that she meant 'horse', all along.)
Rachel Lee: You said that the unicorn was beautiful but I don't know what that means.
Lia: I like that you put the part beautiful because it helped me know more about the unicorn.
Amelie: Maybe you could say, like, does it have something on it, which color.
Kayla: Did you use one day to make it, did you do a lot of work in one day?
Rachel: Yes, two days.
Jennifer: My suggestion is to tell us more about how the owner acts and feels.
Brianna: I like it, but who's the owner?
Jennifer: It sounds like Brianna and I want to know more about the same thing.
Each author left these discussions with more ideas or sometimes a clearer understanding of their book's plan. The students have been capable of using a constructive tone in their questioning and sharing of feedback. They have also gotten adept at using specific language so that they can explain their thinking or perspective!