I believe it was February. My class was working on writing fictional pieces, and I needed to make sure they all had a piece they could publish. As I was speaking with each kid, I came to one who absolutely hates to write. He’s always one-and-done, so this would be interesting. I asked him if he had a piece in mind and he nodded yes. What was it about? A school bombing. I’m not the wisest person, but I’ve learned enough to know to not just say no, so I asked him, “Student, may I ask why you chose that topic?” And this is what he said:
“Well, I was watching the news last month, and they were talking about the Conn. school shooting. I had completely forgotten about that, but the minute they said it I thought to myself, ‘I have to write about that!'”
This was a kid who lives no where near the place where the shooting happened, but I know he was affected by it. He’s one of my older kids and tries to act tough, but when we had our practice lockdown he had dozens of questions. He was using the writing unit to work through his thoughts and feelings. And thank goodness I knew enough to not say no whenI first heard his topic.
This kid also never stuck with a piece of writing or did any revising in his life. Two or three weeks later I sat down with him and asked what revisions he made. He had given his characters names and added dialogue. “Why?” I asked.
“Well, I was talking with my writing group and they said they were getting confused because they never knew who I was talking about because no one had names. Then, they said dialogue could help give more information about what people were thinking and could give details in a more interesting way.”
WHAT WHAT WHAT?!? He stuck with one piece of writing for weeks, he actual listened to feedback from others and made changes to his writing that actually did make it better. And in the end, he turned in a piece of work that he was proud of an wanted others to hear.
Huge success in my mind!