During the month of March I will be writing every day in the company of my fellow slicers in our writing community annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. This is Day #4.
A Morning, a Midday, and an Evening #sol21 4/31
March 4, 2021
I desperately want to start with the end of the story, but the anticipation will be so much sweeter if I start at the beginning.
I began my work day like most with a one on one meeting with another educator, planning, analyzing, and dreaming about what we might try, how we might collaborate, and all manner of what’s next. This ritual of a quiet morning meeting over coffee, the lights dimmed in the cozy literacy center, has been my ritual for over a decade. Just an half an hour of talk each morning with someone different, pencilled in the calendar and kept like the precious appointments they are, sparks my joy, my creativity, my compassion, my empathy, my practice, and the very kernel of who I am. Each one different, they teach me so much, polishing me like a smooth stone.
The next hours are usually spent with young writers of many ages. Before the pandemic, I could often be found in the company of a whole class or a few writers huddled in a corner, sometimes one student in a enlightening conferences. Now I have screen conferences with kindergarteners or write in their classrooms with them we they are present in school. We write about basketball and going to the movies, birthday parties and playing outside. The day slides into a progression of writers, third graders thinking about their theories about characters and what they are noticing about the characters in the books they read. First graders, expertly explaining to be the importance of card shuffling, the fine points of tag, or which important building I really must visit soon. Then dessert, a few minutes with my fourth grade writing partner polishing, revising, composing, and editing before my time with students is done for the day.
Today, I finished my work day with a gathering of my dear second grade educators talking about their students progress, the finer points of spelling, phonics, and handwriting. Glad to be together talking about this year with our eyes on next. Consider how to best bring out all the potential of our young readers and writers. Laughter is sprinkled through our talk as if we do this every day and not in rare moments since our situation has pushed us into our silos. I go out to the car filled with joy… and a large measure of hope.
Then after dinner, a gift, an hour listening to Kate DiCamillo discuss her craft, her process, her joy, her hopes. She talked about being patient with yourself and how writers are readers. To think that a writer like her fights her inner critic and gets up early in the morning to write before her critic gets up around 9 is so inspiring. She gently tells a fourth grader that she follows her characters around and sees who shows up. She says in an incredibly humbling way that she doesn’t know anything about character development. This women invented Raymie and Rob, Sistine, and Opal! In her soft voice, she says we have to make a deal with ourselves to show and do the work on a daily basis as writers. Write a couple of pages at a sit and come back to it. Wouldn’t we give anything to peek into that notebook she hugs close as she talked about how the sparks turn into embers turn into stories, about writing about who you see and … what you see.
So today… I saw a lot. My whole insides were filled to the brim, pouring over with hopefully plenty to share tomorrow.