I had a lot of a-ha moments while reading week three’s suggested readings and watching the videos! I was very excited when I read the article Story Telling Advice from Akira Kurosawa and watched his video because I immediately thought of the Writer’s Workshop in my kindergarten classroom. Akira uses an analogy of writing a screenplay to climbing a mountain:
Creating a film is an enormous task Kursosawa says, but the important thing is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the size of the task. His advice is not just for filmmakers but for writers or anyone else who has a big, creative job to do in front of them. As he says, when you climb a high mountain you must not look up to the peak so often but instead focus on the ground just a head of you. Step by step you make progress. But if you keep looking up at how far you have to go to finish it will be discouraging and also distracts you from the moment at hand.
Even though my kindergartners are not writing screenplays, I notice they often either rush to the end of a story they are creating (usually with pictures at the moment) or just give up all together and begin a new story right away (many have over 50 pieces of paper in their folder, many with unfinished pictures and stories). Now, for five year olds, it is difficult to stay focused or remember what is being created, but they do understand the idea of a finished story versus one they are working on. I like the analogy Akira made about not looking up at a mountain, that take it step by step. After listening to him in his video (actually, just reading the subtitles because despite having lived in Japan for two years, I do not understand it) I was thinking of ways I can use mini-lessons to teach the students to take their writing step by step and to focus on finishing their stories (without rushing to the end) or at least revisiting their story in order to attempt to finish it.
After Reading, then watching the presentation Presenting in Today’s World, I began to think about my final project and how I want to change the powerpoint presentation discussed in my blog last week, There’s so much more to a picture.
For starters, I would take the first page of the presentation away entirely because the next several slides discuss each subject area in the curriculum in more detail and the presentation would be much more effective if it was kept simple as discussed in the video: Presentation Zen: An OVerview.
The overall back to school presentation would be much more effective not only with pictures (maybe even real pictures of the children) but with stories from previous classes as well as videos (of the children). For example, this is the second page of the current powerpoint:
It is pretty simple, but I can revamp it by:
- Possibly a brief video of the basics of a guided reading group (if I can figure out how to add videos)
- add pictures of the actual books used, centers visited, etc.
- tell stories of how guided reading groups work, some funny stories of previous groups or centers (a child enjoyed the center so much they took the whole thing home!) .
The presentation is often sent home after the back to school night for the parents that were unable to attend, or for reference. It may be helpful to have some brief notes attached to the slides for more meaning.
Those of just ideas and thoughts that are helping me with the final project (as well as use in the classroom with the students). Now it’s time to start experimenting with google slides, presentations and more!