This week I experienced quite a few moments that made my teacher heart smile, and rather than forget them in the busyness that can sometimes overtake me, I’ve decided to catalog a few for you in today’s blog post.
I read a student journal where the student chose to reflect on the strategies I’d been teaching in class. First he defined them with an example, which was enough to thrill me; I mean he could have picked any topic Xbox, basketball, whatever, but he went for writing strategies. Then I read the line that reminded me why I love my job, “I then began to think about how I can use this in my story.” Oh how I love when they share their thinking so freely and when they begin to revise with purpose.
It started raining on Friday, really hard. If you’re a teacher you’ve probably thought many times about how to deal with weather. I mean if it’s raining hard outside, every kid in your room will probably think that’s more entertaining than whatever you’re presenting. For me, sometimes I embrace the weather, and sometimes I close the blinds. Friday I chose to embrace it, and I was sitting with a table full of boys talking about rain stories and this one time at camp. Suddenly, a boy at the table interrupted my story, “I don’t mean to be rude Miss Smith, but I’ve got a rain story too, could you pause for a second so I could jot down my idea in my writer’s notebook? I don’t want to forget it.” That’s a writer, one who stops a conversation to remember.
I was moving around the room during writing time, when I noticed a boy writing seed ideas. I was curious; I haven’t taught them in awhile, and his looked shorter than normal so I sat down. I sat down and inquired what he was doing. His reply went something like this, “Well I was looking at an old generating list, and I liked a few stories so I decided to try out a few short sections of each one to see which one I like the best, that one I’ll write long. We’re allowed to do that right?” Actually that’s exactly what I want them to do, I just wasn’t sure anyone would remember it.
I overheard a writing conference where the writer said, “I’m working on details.”
His writing partner looked at him and said, “What do you mean?”
“Details like being specific?”
And again the writing partner, “I don’t understand what part do you want to be specific in? Characters? Setting?”
“I’m not sure, everything?”
“That’s too hard, let’s read your piece together and focus on one thing that’s important to your story.”
Asking about goals, being specific with goals, and accomplishing goals, that’s what we’re all about.
That was just the beginning of my writers coming out of their shells this week. I had kids begging me to spend more time revising, and others finding punctuation in their independent reading books that they could model in their writing. I’m starting to feel at home with these kids. I love their talk. I love their thinking. I can’t wait to see how we’ll grow as writers this year.