Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Connecting through Writing

We had one of those moments in class today where you have to stop the direction you were heading and discuss what happened. As we came to the front of the room for the mini-lesson, a student stopped to read the Blackout Poetry wall. She commented to another student that her poem was sad. Several kids got up to read it. It made me remember...

Four years ago I had a similar experience with my students. I wrote about it here. So, I pulled that blog post up and shared it with my class - and then the two classes to follow. I told them how Joey's post (and Lexie's reaction) that March had inspired this post I wrote one month later, in April, when my dog Bally passed. We talked about how we can connect to others through their writing. How powerful poetry can be, because there are so few words. I shared some more of my own poems and then sent them off to write their own.

I wrote one too. One inspired by this article I'd read in the Chicago Tribune this morning. Here's mine - unpolished, a first draft, but somewhere to start. What I know for certain is that I love the feeling of sitting in a room of 24 kids, all curled around laptops and notebooks, absentmindedly staring off into space as they contemplate what to write. The room felt alive with possibility. 


My Wish for My Students

Reading over the article from the Trib,
thinking through what Gen Z means,
I look at the faces before me:
full of promise,

They can make this world better than it is.
They can solve the problems we have created.
They can care about all humans,
all creatures,
our planet.

What a burden we have left them with.
Their shoulders are so narrow,
can they carry this load?

I feel a renewed sense to do,
to act,
to fix what I can, while I can.

I know the future is bright when I look at them.
These kids have stars in their eyes,
work ethic that matches mine,
and pure hearts.

But the mess we’ve left is unfair.
We need to learn to work together.
We need to listen to all of the voices,
not just the echo of our own.

Our future is their future.
Let’s make it the best we can.