I can tell it’s spring, and it’s not just the weather. All kinds of blooming is happening at the Seed. I noticed dozens of pink and purple blossoms on our peach tree, and the apple tree has buds as well. Things are blooming inside the building, too, as was evident in the K-1 class last week. They’ve been hard at work on writing stories for some time, and last week during my weekly session with them something miraculous occurred that had nothing to do with me–everyone wrote for a sustained period of time.
Lately I’ve focused on the first graders, helping them finish up drafts, verbally edit their stories, and complete the publication process. This involves a one-on-one conference, sitting with me at my laptop while the rest of the class writes and works with other teachers. Most of them have a strong story line, and the work with me is basically to add in details and clarify meaning. Many of the first graders are at the illustration phase and some of their books are bound and ready for author sharing. A few are independently working on new stories.
Once the first grade authors were launched, I shifted my focus to the kindergarteners. I was taken aback by the enthusiasm of a few students. One boy, who had just in the last few weeks “broken code” (when a child fully grasps the letter-sound correspondence and is able to write phonetically on his/her own), was so excited about writing he could barely stay in his chair. He kept saying over and over, “I just LOVE writing!” He had a huge smile on his face the whole time he was showing me what he’d written. As we added a few details, an about the author page, and sent the finished document to be printed, his excitement continued. We walked down the hallway together to pick up his printed pages, and I explained to him which pages would be illustrated and that the title page would be left blank. He also received a piece of card stock for his cover illustration. Later that day he wrote me a little book that said he hoped we could work on more writing together in the future if I was still working at the school. It was such sweet enthusiasm.
Later that same day I sat with another kindergartener whose excitement nearly matched the other student’s. As we returned to the classroom with his printed pages, I asked him how it felt to have his story published. He said something like, “I love it! I’ve never had this happen to me before!”
This time of year many things besides the progress of young writers come to fruition. Toddlers come forth with delightful new language, and preschoolers show immense progress with skills like sharing and communicating needs through use of phrases like, “One more minute.” Readers and writers at many levels move into new domains of competence. It is truly a season of awakening around the Seed.