For the past few weeks my class has been examining the writing genre of Pourqoui Tales. In case you aren’t familiar with Pourquoi Tales they are traditional stories that explain why a natural event occurs. For some great examples to get started check out the Scholastic Website “Teaching With Pourquoi Tales“. Although this was not the inspiration for my unit, the nice short examples were great shared reading examples for my class to examine. After examining a few different Pourquoi Tales, we decided that we should write our own! I was amazed with some of the ideas that the kids came up with including
– Why Dinosaurs Are Really Extinct
– Why Parrots Are Colourful
– Why Owl’s Hoot
– How the Bullfrog Got its Spots
– How the Sloth Got its smile
– How the Zebra Got its Stripes
– How the Cheetah Got its Spots
– Why Dolphins Jump Every Once and a while
– Why Turtles Have Shells
– Why Penguins Can Fly
– Why Dogs Bark
– Why Pugs have a Flat Snout
– …. and many more!
Writing has been a large focus in my own professional development this year and I am trying to increase students sharing their writing through blogging, and other events. For this unit, I decided to do a “Cafe” (to go with the French theme!). In order to convert the classroom into a cafe, I purchased a few table cloths at the Dollar Store to make the desks look like a restaurant, made a sign to put on the classroom door, and got a few peanut free snacks to share. I also place my large “blue” story chair at the front of the classroom for the readers to share their stories from.
Each student “published” their story and illustrated it. During the cafe, they sat in the large story chair and read their story to the class. It was amazing that some of my normally least interested students in sharing their writing were some of the first to volunteer to share! I think the change of atmosphere in the classroom made the students more comfortable and remind them that they are with friends.
I took lots of pictures to share in our classroom newsletter and it was a great experience. If you are looking for a way to motivate students to share their work in class, and mix up your school week I would highly encouraged you to host a Pourquoi Cafe!