SOL Tuesday: Beckoning the lovely in Room 202

Tuesday’s  Slice of Life writing community is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

It’s the story of my teaching life: I have an idea, I toss it out to my kids, and then they blow me away.  Over the years, I’ve learned to place my trust my kids in a “Field of Dreams” kind of way – if you name the idea, scaffold it a bit, and invest it with purpose, they will rise to the occasion, and often exceed the idea you had in the first place.

Two weeks ago, while thinking about the recent loss of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, I felt the need to share her with my students.  I wanted them to know of her work, her spirit, and the joyous way in which she invited her readers to consider noticing and doing lovely things.  So, I came up with this Slice of Life Assignment (we write a slice of life every Friday on our class blog):Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 1.47.49 PM

At first, my students were puzzled.  There were a hundred anxious and agitated questions: what do you mean by “lovely”? does it have to be something written down? can I sing a song? can I work with a partner?

Then they were a bit annoyed by the open endedness of the assignment (these are kids who seem to need very explicit directions: how many paragraphs? how many lines in each paragraph? – so much of my work with them this year has been to break this neediness and encourage more risk taking).

Then they got to work…and I waited.  Some of our “lovelies” came in during the week, and were cause for celebration, like Lila’s painting:

On Sunday, when the assignment was due, I logged on to Google classroom and watched lovely unfold:

  • movies about lovely moments and memories
  • planting trees in our neighborhood inspired by #ALTNPSPLANTATREE:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 2.33.05 PM

  • creating a community kindness project:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 1.45.40 PM

  • poetry – lots of poetry!

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 1.51.00 PM.png

  • crafting something lovely for those we love (sketching a flower for mom, delivering treats to grandma)
  • looking out of the window and celebrating the lovely that Nature has to offer (a cherry blossom in bloom):

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 1.55.49 PM

On Sunday, I was overwhelmed by what my kids had been able to do: they came to that metaphorical field and they brought their A game.  They imagined what kindness looks like, and they paused to notice what was lovely in their everyday.  We beckoned the lovely in room 202, and the joy of our endeavor reverberates.









16 thoughts on “SOL Tuesday: Beckoning the lovely in Room 202

  1. I love how your student referred to herself in her note describing her piece as a “Smithling.” You are the pied piper….they always follow! You are teaching them how to make magic out of the ordinary. Lucky kids.

  2. This brings lovely tears to my eyes. I’ve been toying with ideas of how to honor Amy’s legacy. Thanks for sharing your student’s brilliant ideas.

  3. What a legacy you are creating that must make Amy very happy. I’m sure her family would love to know about your project at some time. I enjoyed the poem–may I share it with my students? Thank you.

  4. Tara, what I love about this, aside from the incredible creativity of your students, is the way you exhibit a ‘letting go.’ It’s a beautiful thing for a teacher to trust in her students’ creative nature the way you describe here. So much to love here…but that’s my two cents 🙂

  5. What “lovelies” your students produced. I like the fact that they wanted guidance but eventually followed their own paths. Definitely a tribute to your nurturing classroom environment.

  6. Wow – children are so full of love when you present the right environment. Their ideas and creations are beautiful. I, too, shared Amy’s story with my students, and they were very moved. Empathy abounds!

  7. Many, besides teachers, do not realize how wonderful children are and can be. Sometimes I don’t think we ask enough. “If you build it, they will come” is a wonderful mantra to have. I think you have built it, and look at what happened, Tara. I know your kids are special, like all kids, but you have offered them the opportunity to be more. I’m sure you’re proud, and you should be! Amy KR is, too.

  8. The lovely came through the creativity of your students (just as you knew it would). You inspire not just the students in your classes, but everyone who has a connection to you. You beckoned the lovely with this post.

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