Thanks to Stacey, Dana, Tara, Betsy, Anna, and Beth, the amazing writers and thinkers who host the Slice of Life community every Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to join with posts or comments at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com!
Two months ago, coming home from the headiness of NCTE, I initiated Five Minute Writes at our dinner table, writing about it here. Basketball season and the other pressures of life with a seven-person household definitely get in the way of this becoming a daily practice. However, whenever we can, we write.
Last night, I reflected on the impact writing in short spurts has had on my family members:
- My husband has learned the value of a slice of life. He doesn't always try to solve world problems and over-analyze a life mystery. He picks a moment from the day. Last night, he made us all laugh describing our youngest daughter slipping in the snow. (She was fine, so it's okay to laugh!)
- My high school junior doesn't stare at the blank page as much. She still rolls her eyes and she still complains about needing to do her homework, but she gets started much more quickly. Even though she rarely shares her work, she leaves her notebook on the table with the pen still marking her spot. I think she knows (wants?) that I read her pieces, and she has a definite theme that has emerged.
- My high school sophomore writes in all different voices for all different reasons. Songs, poems, arguments, lists, narratives...she has written them.
- My seventh-grader has used her 5 minute writes as launching pads for bigger pieces of work. I LOVE that!
- My mom has begin to share some of her pieces. She used one piece to make sure that we would all try a new recipe, describing a futuristic event of people really liking her beef brisket. She also used one to express her hope that we can all leave our shoes in the mudroom. (We're working on this...)
- And my dad? That's another story for another slice. Maybe a really thick slice...
At school, I have a sixth-grade student I have taken on and whenever I can, I have him come into my office in the mornings and just write. I don't try to teach him much. I just want him to discover that he has important ideas and thoughts to share with the world, so I just give him my iPad and five minutes. Within the first month, he began to write more. When I first started working with him, he would only write a sentence or two. Just before Christmas, he wrote his homeroom teacher a letter of thanks:
Dear,Mrs._____ .Thank you for being a good teacher to me and having my back and helping me on my work,trying to challenge me on a lot of things so i can go to the next level.When i was in 5 grade we got along with each other and we used to make jokes. but when it was time to start 6th grade i wanted you because i knew you could help me on my work.
Not perfect, but I'm not letting perfect get in the way of good... On January 16th, just a few weeks later, he wrote about his dad, a person we never hear about:
Last Sunday my Father called my mom and said he wanted to talk to me. When my mom gave me the phone he said that he got new car.Also he said he has two jobs now to support me when i see him at his new house.My father got the 2015 cadillac,and a new pet.He got a lizard that has spikes on the side of his body all the way to his tail.I told my dad congrats on his car and pet i also said i love him and that i like how he is approving a lot of goals that he told me.So now im proud of my Father.Okay, I got a little teary here. We have so much power when we write. I love sharing it with the people around me.