Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Whole Story

I got a look at the first examples of my new students' writing today. After we read "The Follower" by Jack Gantos, I asked them to identify a possible theme of the story. Don't follow a bad leader; be yourself; monkey see monkey do; listen to good advice, were all accurately offered. The next step was for them to write the story of a time when they learned that lesson themselves.

Given the nature of the prompt, it's hardly surprising that many of their pieces included the sentence, We got in big trouble. Every single story left it there, though, and because I don't know these kids very well yet, I was curious about their definition of "big trouble."

Turns out, it doesn't take much more than a few harsh words or a tap on the wrist for these kids to call it hot water. Well, either that, or they were taking creative license. It doesn't matter though, because it was a great opportunity for me to remind them to elaborate.

"Tell me everything!" I encouraged one student. "What did the principal say? How did you feel? What happened then?"

He frowned and shrugged. "Details, details," he sighed.

I laughed. "Exactly."

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