On my walk this morning, I heard the writer Elizabeth Gilbert quote her mom in a podcast. She said, “The big picture is in the details.” She was talking about the way in which the bigger view of a situation can be revealed in the details of a story. It seemed applicable for this week at the Seed as we prepare for our upcoming open house we’re calling “Seed Stories.” In our staff meeting on Monday we discussed the intention of the event:
to showcase the ways we use stories in the classroom to
• explore ideas
• share histories
• express classroom events and studies
• make sense of the world
We discussed logistics, then each teacher took a turn describing potential focus points. As expected, the ideas were as varied as the teachers and their classes. Some are thinking of presenting class studies that started with a book study, such as The Three Little Pigs or House for Hermit Crab. Some teachers are thinking of telling the story of what literature looks like for their age group and how the stories they share shape the culture of their class, and shape their students’ lives as future readers. One of the classes early in the year wrote a book called “How to Be A Good Friend.” Their display will be the story of that story and how it has created a ripple effect in their classroom and others with whom they’ve shared their book. If you attend the open house, you will likely see how budding writers use their journals to document their lives and literacy development. You will see how preschoolers shared family stories as part of a Día de los Muertos celebration, inviting their ancestors to take their places in the classroom story.
The K-4 program will primarily feature examples of student writing and the stories that go with them. You’ll see a variety of genres to which children are exposed, including persuasive letters, journals, news reporting, poetry, and personal narratives. Heart maps, which have been used throughout our K-4 program, will demonstrate how students create stories from details of their personal lives with pets, siblings, parents, grandparents, and friends. “Fear stories” will demonstrate how writing and drawing can be utilized to help students make sense of their inner worlds through story.
Small details of classroom stories reveal the big picture of the Seed’s literacy program. We inspire curiosity in children’s minds so they will turn to reading and writing as a means of embracing and understanding the world. Additionally, the reading and writing our students do encourages them to use their voices for self-expression, now and in their days to come. In addition to giving them courageous voices, our literacy program supports children in learning to honor themselves. One of our third grade poets says it better than I ever could:
“I see a shooting star
look at it
I say I hope
if you do something
wrong or bad it is okay
but just remember
to love yourself”