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Mr. Stowlkey and Mr. Smith

Mr. Stowlkey and Mr. Smith were the teachers in one of the kindergarten writing workshops I was in today. They are incredible teachers.

They are both six.

(Normally I don’t refer to students as Mr. or Miss…but since they were acting as teachers today, they wanted to go with this form of their names. I’ll stick with it for continuity in this post.)

Yesterday when I was conferring, both of them were revising. Of course I complimented them on their willingness to return to pages that were previously finished and to add more to them. I mentioned to Mr. Stowlkey, “You could teach others this tomorrow!”

Sure enough, today when he saw me he asked, “So am I teaching today?”

“Of course,” I answered without missing a beat, even though I was a little surprised he was game. As everyone was getting ready for writing, Mr. Stowlkey added two more chairs to the front of the minilesson. Soon we were ready to begin.

The boys began by telling the class what it means to revise. “It’s, like, when you add more to your book so readers know the whole thing.”

Then they shared the ways they revised. Mr Smith shared you can revise by:

  1. Making sure all of the people are in the picture. In his picture of playing basketball he was the only person there, but in real life his friend Luke was playing too. So he added Luke to the picture.
  2. You can also add clothes to people. I remembered I had a yellow-green shirt, so I changed that too.

Mr. Smith shared you can revise by:

  1. Making your pictures look real. He had a picture of his house, but didn’t have windows, so he added windows. He also made the colors of his house look more real.
  2. Adding words. As he was adding to his pictures, he realized he didn’t have any words. So he added them.

They ended the lesson by saying that even though they revised some yesterday, they planned to do more today.

I could not have done a better job.

It’s days like this that I realize the mighty power of workshop teaching. When I conferred with each boy, I was able to get behind what they were already doing and nudge them to do it a little more conventionally. They felt empowered and wanted to share this learning with others. Then, by sharing, they empowered other writers in the room.

Goosebumps, right?

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

16 thoughts on “Mr. Stowlkey and Mr. Smith Leave a comment

  1. Now that’s a great day! It’s so fun when your students do something that makes you proud! Another reason teaching is such a worthwhile profession.


  2. Wonderful example of the power of workshop teaching with our youngest thinkers/writers! I’m going to share this on my literacy page on Facebook. Love it–inspiring/reaffirming for so many; eye-opening for others!


  3. You said it! Empowerment is an amazing accelerator for both the “teacher” and the student. I always love to hear about kindergarten students revising; it is an amazing thing to witness! Thank you for sharing this little snippet of workshop that made a big impact.


  4. I love when the little ones teach.. It really hits home for them when they hear it from their peers. I’ve stepped up my share time with my first graders during writing workshop. I can’t wait to nudge a few to share their learning with the class. Thanks for sharing this slice. it was just the fuel I needed.


  5. What a wonderful lesson. The most important thing a writer can learn is that putting your ideas down is only part of the process. Writing takes revision (not just editing). How great that these young writers are able to keep their audience in mind and improve the clarity of their story. Thank you for sharing!


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