Even the slightest height inequity sets a tone.
I pulled kids to the carpet for Read Aloud. (Notice the emphasis?)
This time of the year, students become a little resistant. They are comfortable with me and more self-conscious about their 10 to 11-year old bodies. Add in a bit of fatigue and sunshiny day and there is a recipe for even the most willing to start to lingering at their desks when called to the carpet. I can see this thought on their faces: Am I a little too old for carpet sitting?
I saw an open space on the carpet; just big enough for me. I grabbed A Writing Kind of Day by Ralph Fletcher and sat down in that spot. I leaned back against the corner of the bookshelf. We were knee to knee, eye to eye. K laughed and said, “This is so weird!”
I opened to Poetry Recipe and started to read, til we got to the end …
I picked up my best friend’s pen
that I’ve kept in my drawer
ever since he moved away.
I took a deep breath,
opened my notebook,
and started to write.
They sat listening. Mouths open.
Just like Ralph,
a someone or something
you know, miss, or care about.
Open your notebook.
Put yourself there.
Look, smell, feel, hear.
In you mind,
look to the left,
write what you see.
Now to the right,
write what you smell.
Reach out in your mind’s eye,
write what you feel.
Close your eyes
Write what you hear.
They sat and wrote
on the carpet.
This week I celebrate Read Aloud’s superpower: flexibility.
Read aloud allows us to adjust our stance with students and text. Sometimes were are in the thick of it. Sometimes we listen in, observe; coach; direct. Sometimes we take our pens and study text. Letting the words move our pens, as thinkers, as readers, as writers. And sometimes we let words wash over us.
Writing beside them is nothing new. Sitting, in a place where a student usually sits, changes stance. Everything looks different, from my perspective and theirs. Read aloud lets me be with students. This week I celebrate being in their midst.
Thank you, Ruth, for Celebrate this Week. Read other celebrations here.