tinker with text
Literacy-Based Maker Education
Papa Bear's Chair
In my last post, we talked about using fairy tales as starting points for tinkering with text. Let’s continue with that theme but now let’s look at “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Same process … create text sets and read, read, read. Maybe these bins could have books about bears, cookbooks, oats and other grains, furniture building and design, hibernation, and of course all levels of the fairy tale including fractured fairy tales and graphic novels. Be sure to include lots of pre- and post-reading discussion. Use words, phrases, and sentences to teach spelling, syllables, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and other language conventions.
Remember, reading, writing, and making are all equal players when we tinker with text. As they say in Montessori, “Follow the children.” See where they want to go with this.
A starting point for making might be to give a design challenge to the children to design a chair that Papa Bear would like (firm) or one that Mama Bear would like (soft). They could draw their furniture design and label it. If you have fabric scraps in your tinker tubs, perhaps they could staple a fabric sample to their drawing. Encourage them to look online or in a catalogue or magazine for ideas.
Others might prefer to do some writing. Maybe they could write a porridge recipe and then make some together. Maybe you could make three different batches and the kids have a taste test. Then they write about which one they like best and why.
Or perhaps they’d like to write an updated version of this classic fairy tale … or give her a different name and a family of unicorns, for example … or it’s a polar bear family in the Arctic. If the characters and setting are different, certainly the plot and the ending would change too. They might choose to follow up by making some puppets, a diorama or a stop motion animation video. As they play with the puppets or toys, the story will likely evolve. Encourage them to go back to their writing and make revisions ... tinker with the text.
Here are a few other ideas. Once you get started, you will see that there are limitless possibilities. The children will naturally do this. Set your own imagination free too.
It’s all about structured exploration while you are constantly weaving in opportunities to teach about language (speaking, listening, reading, writing). There is constant flow. To ensure that flow, you will have to pre-teach, model, set boundaries, define structures, and practice the structure so that everyone is actively engaged in the teaching and learning process.
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Vicki Den Ouden is an Elementary Reading Intervention Teacher from BC, Canada. She loves to dream, learn, teach, and create.