Today I’m celebrating my students. Our current writing unit is Slice of Life. Their comments might be my favorite part of the unit. The students enter our classroom at 8:10. They quickly unpack, do lunch count, and lay their notebooks open at their table. Grabbing three post-it notes, they circle the room, reading the slices from fellow students and leaving comments on each slice. Their goal is at least three comments a day and that everyone in the class have at least two. We have to move quickly because they head to math at 8:30.
This week one of the young poets in my class, Joey, shared an amazing poem with us. I was not the first to read it, however. As they start reading I am doing the paperwork part of the morning, gathering lunch money, notes for the office, and entering attendance. It was from this point, near the front of the room, that I heard Lexie, another student, call me.
“Mrs. S! Stop what you are doing, grab some Kleenex and a post-it, and come back here. You need to read Joey’s poem.”
Knowing Lexie means business, I obliged, as did a good portion of the classroom. I paused briefly to enter attendance as I grabbed my post-its. I heard exclaims from the kids that had moved over already. Comments ranged from, “Wow, Joey!” or “This is so sad.” Or simple pats on his back.
I finally reached Joey’s spot and saw this:
Here it is typed:
Today I lost a friend.
He was a hero,
a heart warming,
Some people say
animals don’t have
but I know they do.
His soul is flying,
flying in the sky,
free running around.
I hope God
takes care of him.
I lost a friend,
I yelled at him,
to come back.
He didn’t come.
The thing I have
is a friend.
A human and a goat,
made no difference.
Joey raises goats. He shows them in 4H and wins ribbons for how well he takes care of these animals – or, as he says, his friends. I looked up to Joey after reading it and asked when his goat had passed away. Last night, he said. I hugged him and had to walk away.
I don’t think when beginning this unit I remembered how important it was. Joey is a celebrated member of our class for his ability to weave words – but the students didn’t know this about him until they started reading his writing daily. They have learned a great deal about all of their classmates. One glance at the comments on any day would tell me this. These are the ones left for Joey that day.
So today I celebrate the young writers in our classroom. They have some of the best hearts I know. And while I did look forward to this week off – this spring break we are beginning – I can’t wait to see them in nine days and celebrate even more.
Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are posting a slice each day on our blog. Join in!
I’m joining up with Ruth Ayres for her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all of the posts linked up at her blog HERE. Thanks for starting this, Ruth!