I come to this page with mixed feelings. Our world is a place that tends to do that to a person. I am devastated and disturbed by it, but at the same time in awe of the possibility and promise tucked in and around the troubles.
Every morning we have a circle question. Questions range from the silly to the serious. I’ve used them to connect and focus my students before the day begins. This week a student asked if he could offer a question for the group. I asked him if he wanted to ask it.
“No,” he said. “You do it.”
So I did. Offering up this, “If you could take back anything, what would you take back?” Answers ranged from the personal to the political. We learned startling things about each other. Things that moved the talkative group to silence.
Even with this beginning, recess created hurt feelings. Settling in for instruction was going to be difficult. So I changed my plans and pulled out Jaqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness. The connection to the morning question was clear providing a reminder of who we can and should be for each other.
Thursday, we finished Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. This is the kind of book that kept my kiddos on the edge of their seats all the while developing deep connections to the characters. It’s the kind of book that requires tissue boxes near the read aloud area. It’s the kind of book that produces a pin-drop quiet attention at one moment and screams of nOOOOOO at the next. It’s the kind of book that is hard to put down; the I-can’t-wait-but-I-don’t-want-to-finish feeling. It’s a book that has students writing and makes me buy five more copies because so many students want to re-read certain parts so they can write the quote on the wall.
Friday, I pulled out a Red: A Crayon’s Story. This picture book is a must-read for every classroom. The depth of it is astounding. A book that is so accessible it can be interpreted as needed. We read it closely. We noticed. So many things. The colors. Inside and outside. Labels. Names. Then we wrote.
Reading brings us together. As we laugh and cry and understand, we can’t help but reach out to each other and aspire to be good and beautiful in this world. Schools offer the opportunity to read and listen and talk and think and write. Imagine if we all had this opportunity. Perhaps that is why we see students rising up in high schools around the country.
Appreciate the week’s beauty and seeds of hope by writing and reading other’s posts on Ruth Ayer’s weekly celebration link up.