Recently I had playground duty and as I walked around the playground talking to my students, my mind wandered to our next writing unit. We were going to begin a fiction unit and I really wanted the students to be inspired. When I’ve read their writing in the past, it usually lacks a strong setting. I wondered what I could do to help with that and then I turned and saw the farm on the hill. One mile from where I stood was the house I went to for preschool – Farm School.
I clearly remember Farm School. It might have been my favorite years of school ever. Many times in writing workshop I write about my experiences there. One that stands out is walking down the lane to the woods just south of the property. I’m not sure why we went there, but when we did I was certain the wood were magical. They felt special. With that thought in mind, I decided I wanted to take my students there to write.
We headed down the interurban track to the woods on the hill, just over a mile away. I smiled as I watched some of the boys race to the top – it was nice to be able to let them run ahead. With no traffic on this trail we could spread out without any worry.
Once we finally reached the woods, the kids spread out with their towels and blankets. I instructed them to stare at the woods, to let their mind wander. What stories could they tell here? What did they see? Were the woods magical? Did they hide something? Write.
I moved up and down the line of students. Some read to me what they had so far, some furiously wrote, some had to be reminded to get writing. J I watched as one student flagged down my friend and colleague who had come for a walk with us – he just had to share his story with her. It was amazing.
All too soon, we had to head back. I glanced up the lane at the beautiful house that held so many memories. Now it had given me more, this time as a teacher instead of a student. I cannot think of a better way to spend Earth Day than outside writing with my class. I can’t wait to see what stories then come up with.
Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.