June 11, 2024
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MDS Students Explore The World Through Stories

Have you ever wondered how the turtle got its shell or how the giraffe got its long neck? These and many other questions have been answered by Manhattan Day School’s third graders. Inspired by reading folktales and fairytales from around the world, the students became authors, writing original Pourquoi stories. According to Maggie Madere, the school’s new language and literacy coordinator, “Pourquoi is the French word for ‘why.’ These stories allow the students to learn about the structure of stories while at the same time they explore what the stories tell about different cultures. This dynamic exploration of the world through learning is the core of the mission at MDS.”

Throughout the grades, MDS uses a wide range of strategies to cultivate reading and writing skills. The revised literacy program, funded by a generous grant from anonymous donors, was developed three years ago to align with next generation standards and addresses all components of literacy: reading, writing, language usage and grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening. This dynamic approach helps ensure that MDS readers not only advance in their skills, but develop the critical thinking, imagination, and appreciation that will empower them to be enthusiastic life-long readers and thinkers.

In his Pourquoi story, third grader Moshe V. wrote about why lions have manes around their heads. He explained, “Pourquoi tales are fictional stories that explain how and why certain things happen. Usually, they involve animals or nature. They teach a lesson, but you kind of have to figure it out. They are really old stories. It’s cool because all of these different countries tell these stories.”

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