Saturday, March 22, 2014

Slice of Life and Celebrate This Week - Young Writers

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:

Lost Forever
By: Joey

Today I lost a friend.
He was a hero,
a heart warming,
a goat.

Some people say
animals don’t have
a soul,
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,
that left.
I yelled at him,
to come back.
He didn’t come.

The thing I have
in memory,
is fur.

A friend,
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!