Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

When did you become an author?

When did you become an author?


Opal 4 is discussing Ralph Fletcher’s “First Pen“:

TP: The pen gives him power.
ZG: Because it was the first time he wrote in pen, it felt like magic.
PK: He felt important – his words would stay forever…
EL: I felt like when he got that pen and he started writing, that pen was turning him into a writer – into the writer that he is today.
ABM: That seems like a pivotal moment – it’s pivotal because he is now a writer and that was what made him feel grown up.
KC: How does writing with a pen reflect on being grown up?  It’s just writing in pen.
Hannah: Your question is helping us shift our perspective.  At first glance, does a pen seem like a big deal?
ED: The pen inspired him. He never could have written that story with a pencil.  Instead of an eight year old kid, he felt like a whole new person.
DW: When he was 8 years old and got that pen, I don’t think he had had a lot of experience. It made him feel different and stand out.
NT: He felt like he could do what was unborn, unseen. He’s saying, what can I do with this?  He felt like his writing was different – it couldn’t be taken away; it was just there.  It was cool for him because he made that – it was like a small miracle.  
It is a “small miracle” when we discover that we have a story to share with others.  For Fletcher, that occurred when he was eight.  In the transcript above, I think KC’s question reveals her bewilderment that anyone would have to wait that long.  Young children have a right to that experience – to be seen.  Through Story Workshop, with it’s commitment to sharing storiesample use of the arts, meaning making, and time to play, children discover their stories and share them with the world from much younger ages.  I think that’s where KC’s question came from: Why would it take a pen to become an author?  Why would anyone have to wait until eight?
We’re excited about what we’re learning as we investigate Story Workshop at Opal School.  We hope you’ll connect with us through some of the following opportunities:
  • Our next workshop, New Possibilities for Writers, includes examining Story Workshop and finding connections between it and Matt Glover‘s work.  It’s April 9-10 at Opal School.
  • The Geography of Story Workshop is our effort to bring Story Workshop to your team through a dvd and guiding text.
  • Equity and Access Through Story Workshop is a set of five videos and a text exploring the ways in which the approach supports children with special rights.
  • We’ll be sharing Story Workshop in Albuquerque this week and in Cambridge in May.

We love to hear from others who are adapting Story Workshop to their settings.  What stories are you discovering?