In remembrance of Maya Angelou, I wonder if you've seen the hashtag #MayaTaughtMe, and read some of them. It's filled with tiny memories that can only be because of twitter's structure. Here, less becomes more as one reads. She taught me that being older is okay, that thriving at any age is the purpose. Have you thought about what Maya Angelou taught you?
It’s been a pleasure working almost all my time in the past weeks with one classroom. I’ve continued to meet sometimes with other teachers, but this time it’s like being back in the classroom again. My colleague has planned numerous kinds of projects, including writing in a workshop-type atmosphere where students have the chance to make their own choices in writing. In this kind of group, I usually have students bring some examples of texts they think is good, and we respond to those. Then, when they have writing to share, I copy all the pieces into a packet so each can “see” the words as well as “hear” them. It gives everyone a chance to think first, then give some ideas for revision to their group members. I think of myself as the facilitator, bring up different ‘craft’ skills that I notice in the words shared, and take a few minutes to give a mini-lesson, hopefully that will help each writer improve.
These students have had lots of choices, particularly in their individual unit topic research, and how to best communicate the findings, and they have written all year, in all kinds of genres. The two groups we formed are just one of the assignments they’ve been doing. We’ve only met five times, mostly hour sessions, then they’re on their own, writing, revising, with some response, but only a bit of copy editing from me. As you will see, they’re incorporated some of the craft ideas discussed or pointed out in mentor texts, and I’m proud of them for their ease of word play, and creativity with topic, too. There are eight in the group, a mix of fourth and fifth graders. Some chose to write only poetry, some added a quick fiction story to their poetry, one wrote a longer fiction story, and one wrote a persuasive speech. I’m sharing just one thing from each student and only the introduction to the longer pieces. I hope you enjoy them, considering the wonderful possibilities in each writer’s future work.
Thanks to the students who gave me permission to publish their work!
Tick Tock by Rémy
An hour goes by,
And I have nothing to do.
I ask my mom what I should do,
and she said go outside.
I ask to play
but the kids say no,
an hour goes by
And I have nothing to do.
Today is Today by Abigail
Today is a day,
Like any other day.
But today is today,
And I don’t know what wlll happen.
Maybe I’ll see a giraffe at the zoo
Or maybe a monkey
Or possibly two.
But today is today.
Unlike any other.
So I’ll live it quite well
Because I won’t have another.
A Warm Montana Summer by Talia (short story)
Julie waves goodbye to her grandchildren. They had a few great weeks together. She remembers the great time she had with her Grandma Lucy when she was just twelve years old. That summer in Montana, the great time she spent. . .
Julia stepped out of the car, “See you later,” she said to her mother grumpily.
“I’ll pick you up in three weeks. This business meeting is going to be fine, but the trip with your father will be great!” And just like that, her mother drove off.
“I can’t believe this is how I have to spend my summer,” mumbled Julia. She walked into the kitchen of her grandmother’s yellow house. Her grandmother sat in a wooden rocking chair. Julia couldn’t help but smile, she hadn’t seen her grandmother since she was six, which was half the age she was now.
“So glad to see you dear,” said Julia’s grandmother Lucy as she got up to stir a pot on the stove. “Does spaghetti sound good for dinner? I made my signature sauce!”
“Yes, it sounds wonderful,” remarked Julia, as she pulled her suitcase to the guest room. Grandma’s signature sauce was absolutely delicious. Julia sighed when she saw the Winnie the Pooh quilt in the bedroom. She wasn’t six anymore; it was time for something new.
Spring Sky by Amelia
The sun blazes through the clouds,
The earth’s spotlight.
Clouds dance around it,
Crisp and white.
Butterflies flutter high towards the stars,
Dancing with the spring sky.
Big City by Fyodor
Monsters by Adeline
under the bed
in the closet
in your dreams
Death at Sea by Haden (persuasive speech)
Out in the ocean where the ripples are small and any disturbance is quite a rare occurrence, in a place far away from prying eyes where all continents and civilizations are far, far away, where no man can see, a whale is free. Though the whale, a minka whale, is being driven to extinction with the rest of its kind. The whale seems to fly over the calm water without a care for all the troubles in the world, its powerful body intermixing air and water until they are combined as one. Extinct, you may ask, how can this creature be driven to extinction, you may think, this beautiful creature might be absent from the world because of one simple reason, whaling.
Remember by Sarah
Memories are important.
You will always have them with you.
Memories of the warm summer afternoons,
With the countless lemonade stands that you made with your best friend.
Or the memories of the times when you felt like melting into a corner,
And leaving your worries behind.
Memories are what keep you going.
They are the stories that you tell to your grandchildren,
And the thoughts that make you laugh and smile,
Even when you are all alone.
Memories are the hope that makes you trust there is a tomorrow.
So start remembering.