Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adventure on the High Seas

In my first grade class we are authors. I have been using an idea called Writer's Workshop for about 4 years now and my little bugs are writing!! Really writing! These are children who are not native English speakers, some cannot even speak in English at the beginning of the year - but boy, by mid-year they can write! How can 1st graders do that??

Number #1 - We read a LOT of books!!! I can't stress that enough. I teach mini lessons everyday using picture books, I have daily read aloud times and I just bathe the little bugs in language and books.

Number #2 - The next part is very important ..... model, model and model. The students learn how to write from what they hear and also from what they see. So not only do I show them books, they see me writing and authoring books also. We go from just pictures and drawing to whole books. It's great!

Number #3 - the best of all; they learn to "stand on the shoulders" of an author. That does not mean copying directly the words of an author or tracing the pictures
(that's stealing!) It means that we can get a good idea from that favorite author and keep the story going. We can make a change or a twist and make a new tale. They get ideas!!! My students are truly inspired by authors. By "standing on their shoulders" my little bugs want to become authors too and in the end, they become writers!! They are writing fictional stories with beginnings, middles and endings that are more than just "THE END", they are writing non-fiction bear reports and doing their own research all while they are losing baby teeth! My 6 and 7 year old bugs are writers.

Now I tell you that to tell you this:

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson is just another example of someone who is "standing on the shoulders" of a classic - Peter Pan! Purists alert - this is not JM Barrie's version. This is a different take, an updated Peter - Peter seen through a different lens.

I love a good twist on a tale. Isn't that what storytellers have been doing for generations? Just taking a tale and making it their own?? Ok, soapbox aside, Peter and the Starcatchers was another enjoyable twist of a tale; another example of someone who is "standing on the shoulders" of an author.

Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson took full advantage of modern technology and penned a book together while they live miles apart. Thank you internet!! They wrote and edited back and forth until a story began to take shape. The authors don't continue the Peter Pan story, they front load, they change the backstory, they deliver their variation of how it might have been. It was a fun twist of that tale.

I know this isn't a new book, it was published in 2004, but it is our summer book group read for June. We generally read a kid's book or young adult book in the summer so we can invite our kids (or neighbor kids) and share our book group experience. It's fun to find one that is an AR book so kids can test on it when they go back to school in August ( did I really utter that word already - say no!!) We try to choose a book that has an audio format too, so the books can be a vacation read-along while traveling. This audio is fantastic - read by Jim Dale of Harry Potter audio fame!! For our summer start Peter and the Starcatchers was a fun adventure.

I discovered a new way that Peter could have arrived at Never Land, how he met the dread pirates, how the mermaids came to be and how he learned to fly. I realized that my Peter Pan experiences have really only come from Disney (the cartoon version and Hook) and I now intend to rectify that and try the original asap!! I do have a hankering now for an island vacation - guess I'll pop some popcorn and sit down to watch the movie instead..... Peter Pan anyone??

Gosh two pirate/corsair adventures in a row. What next?

1 comment:

Kim said...

My sons loved these books--I wish there were more coming out! Great review.