And now a brief respite from the tale of my teaching trajectory:
I decided to do a Slice of Life Story Challenge with my students for the month of May. I started writing this blog as part of such a challenge, sponsored by the Two Writing Teachers website (which is an excellent resource). My goal in participating was always to find an application for my classroom, although I've discovered much more over the last 70 days. In our state, May is usually chopped up by standardized tests and the like, and so I figured that a dependable activity on those days when we do meet this month might be helpful in maintaining consistency for my classes, especially in the face of that test craze that has a way of taking hold.
One of my objectives for this activity is for students to practice writing a conclusion that explains the significance of the experience they're writing about. I've told them that sometimes they won't understand why they remember these events or what they mean until they have written about them, and that's another of my objectives, to show kids that they can use writing to make sense of things.
So far, it seems like my students are enjoying it, and they have done some wonderful writing. One boy wrote of visiting his grandmother in Bangladesh last summer. Bored, he folded some paper airplanes and launched them off the balcony of her apartment. Watching the planes glide to earth, he saw another boy, close to his own age, who was working as a street cleaner, lift one from the ground and then look up, searching the skies for its origin. I looked at him, and I knew he wanted to learn. So I made more planes and wrote instructions in each of them and sent them down to him. In his conclusion he reflects on how lucky he is to be able to go to school and learn when so many children in Bangladesh can't afford the same opportunity.
I think he's getting it.
(And that's what I mean about writing for discovery. It wasn't until I posted this entry that I realized it wasn't an intermission at all.)