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Creativity in the Classroom: 'Three Rainbow Unicorns'
Three Rainbow Unicorns storyboard

By Kayleigh Axon
First Grade Teacher

First graders are delving into one of their special writing projects. Having spent the beginning of the year focusing on the mechanics of sentence writing, spelling, and adding details, they are now working on story-making skills. 

Using Pie Corbett’s "Talk for Writing" approach, it all started with the well-known tale of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. “Once upon a time, there was not one, not two, but three Billy Goats Gruff…”  First graders begin their project as storytellers, memorizing the story verbatim with a story map for reference and copying the teacher’s actions and prompts. They also role-play the story in groups with narrators. Although it may seem repetitive, memorizing the structure and key sentences is an important part of the process.

From a successful imitation stage, they move on to innovation. By changing the characters and settings in The Three Billy Goats Gruff, first graders create their own stories. “Once upon a time, there was not one, not two, but three Rainbow Unicorns…” They use the beginning, middle, and end structure to draw a story map plan. "Talk for Writing" involves plenty of talking so once they complete their story maps, they tell their story to a partner. 

With the support of sentence openers and key vocabulary, they write their stories over several lessons. It takes time to build writing stamina and with all their creative ideas, they need time to add details and share their own writer’s voice within the basic story. 

At Foote School, we always find ways to celebrate each other’s work, and with a big writing project like this, that’s no exception! Teachers type up the stories, students illustrate them and they are published in their own mini-books. First grade families and members of our community are invited to listen to our authors before the winter break. Our students glow with pride when they finally take home their first published book!

First graders working

Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.