What You Do Matters #sol20
After a couple of weeks of meetings and professional development days, I had spent many, many days in a conference room. I was out of sorts. It occurred to me that I need balance. Late last week I sought to fill my tank up with time with students.
On Wednesday morning, I joined a fourth grade for their weekly Creativity Project time. Writing away in the presence of their energy and the sound of their pencils flying across the page, I thought this is the way to start the day.
The rest of that half-day morning, I read Hungry Jim aloud to a second grade studying folktales. Great for prediction, this story got this class talking, gasping, and laughing. Can’t wait to go back and read Where the Wild Things Are, so we can compare. I rounded out that day with Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, and character analysis in two third grade rooms. How do we know someone is confident?
Then this morning, excited by Hair Love‘s amazing OSCAR win, I shared out the video to the classroom teachers. In third grade, we had planned to start our Baby Literary Essay boot camp. However we put off Those Shoes for one day to celebrate a picture book’s life in the world. After watching the video with our ‘love lens’, we watched to consider what we could write about this wonderful story. Used to discussing books with this teacher and myself, most students chatted during the second showing and were ready with thoughts as soon as we finished. Some however were hesitant. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what I noticed, quiet voices around the room asserted.
Letting those voices echo, their teacher jumped in. Mrs. Kennedy, will you write down our thinking.
Their original thinking is in blue ink. So many traces of evidence backing up their theory that Zuri’s dad is the kind of person who doesn’t give up.
Even those soft I-don’t know voices filled the room with thinking as we continued.
We went back to do some gentle editing together, adding names to replace pronouns, thinking about how we might shift sentences, and then crafting a simple conclusion together. It was the end of this exercise that stopped me in my tracks. The teacher turned to the students and said, look what you did, we wrote a literary essay together just that quick. The room buzzed with student talk. That went so fast. Our whole writing time is finished? That’s a lot!
But then, their teacher said something. She said she put me on the spot by asking me to do the writing. She said, that Mrs. Kennedy, she’s the kind of person who say, Wait, what? and then says, Sure, ok!
Wait… I am? I guess so. Just like that, every tank in the room filled in one hour… including mine.
Congratulations to Matthew Cherry for his Oscar will for the animated short film based on his book, Hair Love. I showed the class the video available on YouTube from the television show, Sunday Morning. Thanks to my writing group, #100daysofnotebooking for filling my tank with writing for the last forty-some days. As always, I am indebted to the amazing leaders of Two Writing teachers and all my encouragers in that group who have given me the air beneath my wings so many times.