Pausing to celebrate

I have students who write stories about basketball and video games. The kind of writing that has no need for endpoints. The frenetic energy of the writer colors their world. It just goes.

After years of seeing this, you’d think I’d have an action-oriented mentor text to guide them toward convention.  But no. Today,  I sat down with M and R, ready to deliver the usual, add an endpoint at the pause speech. Fortunately, I paused and began with a question. “What type of ending did you decide to use?”

“Action!” M said with a huge smile. It was all he could do to keep seated. R nodded with a look that had that same jubilant energy. They were bursting with pride telling me why they chose that craft move. “It fit the story! It matched the lead!”

“Of course! Your piece is filled with power,” I said, and we paused to celebrate what they had done. And in one of those magical teaching moments when the dots connect, I remembered a story under construction in the class. “Would you like to see J’s story? It has the same kind of action as yours and might give you some ideas.”

Their eyes lit up. “Yes! He’s a great writer!”

After J’s approval, I passed it on.

And then, in the back of the room, I heard, “J’s a mentor!”