Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inspired Writing

Today we had one of those class moments that I just have to share with you.  It was a moment in which I saw clearly for the first time how strong our classroom community is and my role in it.  It was a moment in which the whole room buzzed deep in their writing work and everyone felt inspired to achieve.

Truthfully, my class and I have had a very rough year.  We've battled behaviors and constant change.  The year for the most part has been overwhelming.  It's been impossible to keep a routine with the constant assessments, changes, and days off.  Here we are with less than 2 months left in school and I am still struggling to set my students in a routine for writers' workshop.  I am seeking a balance of small group instruction and one-on-one conferences.

Today however, we had only ten minutes before the bell was going to ring for the end of the day.  We were fifteen minutes behind our schedule.  I decided not to do any group work or conferencing.  I stepped back and watched as each student busily tried to get their ideas down.  It's as if their pencils were an orchestra.  The work was smooth and uninterrupted.  As I passed by one student, he commented, "why don't you write anymore?"  It's true, we have become so pressured and rushed that I rarely sit to model writing on paper.  I always do a quick model on the whiteboard, but it clearly was not making the same connections as actually watching me write with pen and paper.

With great enthusiasm and energy, I made an expression like I had just had a great idea for a new piece of writing.  I quickly went to the writing center to get paper and pencil and sat in an empty seat.  Without much delay, I began writing as fast as I could.  One student called out, "Are you ok?"  I must have looked crazy, so intent on my writing.  In seconds, the entire class was circled around me.  They watched with expressions of awe as I wrote and sketched my piece.  One Kindergartener said, "I've never seen a real lady do that!"  Watching me write seemed like such a novel thing to them.  Another student said, "Look!  She's sketching words and pictures."  And yet another, "She's doing the dots" (periods).  I smiled proudly and kept at my work.  Before too much longer, another student said, "Let's go write!"  And another confirmed, "She needs space to write."  Their tone communicated that they had been inspired and after just a minute or two since the moment began, they were all back in their seats scratching away on their own papers their own stories.  It was amazing to see and hear them be inspired and work so diligently without teacher intervention.

For all the struggles, its the moments like these that make me so proud of my class.  They truly love learning and being together.