Monday, October 1, 2012

Intentional Exposure

This week we have been working on our class' first writing workshop! This workshop included 3 days of narrative note taking, reading and scholar discussion before I turned them lose er, guided them on their first adventure in story telling. To do this I opened up with a story by one of my favorite childhood author's, Virginia Hamilton, The Peculiar Such Thing from her book The People Could Fly. This story is so fun and so creepy! The kids realy liked it! It gave them a chance to wonder, to play along and to imagine because the story never tells us what the peculiar such thing is!\

Becoming Vulnerable

Before I went into Narrative Writing, I shared the passion and importance behind story telling and keeping memories. I brought in my own journal from 5th grade that my grandmother bought me. I shared the story behind the journal- that my grandmother gave it to me but she made me promise that I would always write and never stop. It was a beautiful journal. The front cover was a picture of an elephant drawn by an African prince. Even now, I could literally look at this picture for hours. The detailing is amazing and it's as intricate and delicate as my own entries. Within it's pages was the story of my childhood. Good stories, sad stories, drawings and reflections. As I opened it's pages and let my students peep through it, I allowed myself to become vulnerable before them. This was intentional because they needed to see me slip something so precious to me into their hands. I was at their mercy. This opened up the door to them being vulnerable before me. At that moment, I knew I had their trust because I exemplified trust first.

The Assignment

The assignment was simple. The prompt was "The Best Day of My Life." I used this prompt as my Do Now to segue into the new lesson. Each story much include a beginning, middle, end, setting, characters and a title. Every story was so interesting. I opened up the last day of the writing workshop for a Scholar Share. As I graded and listened to their narratives I laughed, I cried and I understood their hearts. I was able to peek inside of their minds and get a glimpse of their joys. What impressed me the most was so many students were optimistic about their lives. There were stories that naturally had a grim cast, yet they were able to see beyond the situation and appreciate the good.

My students are amazing. They inspire me every single day. I love hearing their thoughts, feeling their joy and understanding their pain. It makes me think- was the writing workshop for them, or for me?
I became vulnerable to earn my students' trust.