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):
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:
- creating a community kindness project:
- poetry – lots of poetry!
- 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):
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.