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The Gordon School

Use your words

Young authors and their families connect in first grade

First graders unveiled their family books today.

Parents, friends, siblings, caregivers, uncles, cousins and grandparents came to campus to read them.

The books are based on a number of prompts, exercises and activities designed to get every student talking about their family's culture: their history, their traditions, and the things that make each family special.

It's a strategy that gets even the most reluctant writers invested in the assignment.

Each adult guest got to read about their family, as seen through a six-year-old's

After the first round of reading, the lesson ascended to another level.

Parents started reading other children's books. 

Students began reading their classmates' books. 

There were connections, surprises, and revelations that allowed families to see each other, and themselves, in a new way.

Throughout the reading, everyone was invited to share their reactions on Crayon Compliment Pages.

All year long, these first graders have talked about kind words, they've debated how to give authentic feedback, they've practiced writing their own opinions. 


These crayon compliments, then, became a public demonstration of these skills, improvised on the spot.

The adults followed the children's lead.

It was a forty-five minute lesson.

It built on months of hard work.

And it strengthened connections that, hopefully, will sustain these students and their families through the end of eighth grade.


More photos here

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