Finding A Memory: A Slice of Life

The weekly Slice of Life Round up is held at Two Writing Teachers.  Join us.

Memoirs are hard for kids.  They are hard on me too.  I have to often remind myself that they don’t have the value of being able to “look back” on their childhood, they are still in it.  Things that may not seem that important to me are very important to them and that’s ok.

My writers were wiggly and noisy yesterday so I gave them a few extra minutes to find an extra cozy place to write today.  I encouraged them to go somewhere that they wouldn’t be disturbed, at least for the first part of writer’s workshop, so that they could really concentrate on making the revisions we had talked about.  I sent them off and spent a few minutes organizing myself-ipad for conferring notes, a new CD for mood.  As I looked around I noticed children wedged under desks, hiding behind chairs, and nestled into corners.  Apparently they had taken me very seriously.

As the music began and they made their last preparations I paused for a few minutes to watch.  One girl bent over furiously writing and then stopped to smile as she remembered a special moment.  I saw her giggle a little and look up for a friend to share it with.  Realizing that all of her friends were engrossed in their own work she shook her head, put a post-it on that page, and continued.  I was proud that she had used the strategy I had given her to help her not interrupt other people so often, but I was even more proud that she had taken joy in what she was writing.

I felt intrusive as I went to confer with them.  I didn’t want to interrupt, but I knew that guidance was needed and that precious teaching moments would pass.  So I grabbed my iPad and snuggled up next to them.  Today instead of asking them what they were working on I said, “tell me something wonderful.”

“Tell me something wonderful,”

the paper said to the pen.

Paint me a story full of smiles and laughter,

rich with language that fills me up to the brim.

Entertain me with a story

that touches my heart, sizzles my mind, and takes my breath away.

 If it’s a little sad-scary-lonesome-tired-brooding

well that’s okay.

That can be wonderful to.

As long as you write from the heart.

Tell me something wonderful.

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7 Responses to Finding A Memory: A Slice of Life

  1. Stacey says:

    What a profound way to open up a writing conference!

  2. MaryHelen says:

    Katie, I wrote your invitation down in my notes to use with kids tomorrow. I agree with Stacey.
    I love the fact you were able to see the joy kids were getting through writing. It needs to be captured. Your ending warmed my heart. Thank you.

  3. I have been seeking out these sorts of moments in the classroom lately too. I am not sure what it is, but I sense we are all in need of authenticity, of connection, of celebration. This is a lovely way to open a writing conference, and a lovely way to jump back into slicing!

  4. elsie says:

    I want to be there, in your classroom, as a student. I want someone to say, “Tell me something wonderful.” This was a beautiful glimpse into your class, thanks for sharing it.

  5. Now this is what I was missing as a kid. Your students are soooo lucky!

  6. Thanks for sharing something wonderful with us! I love that line — it gives your students all the freedom and choice! Saving that one in my pocket too!

  7. Linda Baie says:

    I am teaching a memoir writing class & you’ve just shared something wonderful yourself! I hope you don’t mind if I share it too? Lovely poem to start with; we’re just in our early sessions of what & how, etc. Thank you Katie!

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