In February, I had the opportunity to join the 3/4 Class at Fletcher Elementary School during I Love to Read and Write Month. As a former classroom teacher and content specialist, it was an absolute delight to engage again with students and their teachers, Mrs. Locke and Mrs. Cardone, in a reading and writing activity that allowed students to make their learning personal. 

I was able to build on the big ideas of the Jump Into Writing Program that our elementary schools are working with this year, by focusing on the Launch Unit take-aways and what writer’s do. 

We started with having the students listen to my read-aloud of the story Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston. I chose the story because it portrays a strong sense of place. Our Fletcher students demonstrate a sense of place, that strong attachment to environment and community, in so much of their learning. It is one of the features that makes Fletcher such a special place to learn.

After listening to the story and engaging in some discussion, students followed steps to write a three line, free-form “place poem” with rich description (a key feature of the story). The purpose of the free-form poem was to tell a personal story of their own sense of place as well as a personal dream, as Amber does in the story.

Here are some of their free-form poems:

In addition, many of the students created watercolors to portray their sense of place. I was thrilled to receive some of these as gifts! I do love I Love to Read and Write Month, and this year’s experience was made especially memorable by these writers at Fletcher Elementary School. 

Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum,
Instruction and Assessment at Franklin West
Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY.

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