Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coming This Week!

Week of May 15—Writing Lessons My Students Taught Me
Quote of the Week:
The future was plump with promise.
—Maya Angelou

In the last few days, I’ve had some fascinating/fun/memorable experiences with my writing students. In case you don’t recall, I teach creative writing to students (kindergarten through fifth grade) at an elementary school in a rural community. My school is a Title 1 school . . . that means that the majority of our students are on free or reduced lunch which indicates families with serious financial struggles. A third of our students are white, a third are African American, and another third are Hispanic (many from families of migrant farm workers). To say we have many at-risk students among our 500+ population would be an understatement.

Anyone in education knows that tangible rewards are few and far between. Many of the non-tangibles for teachers are few and far between as well. In fact¸ we send most students off to the next grade or the next school with a wish, a wing, and a prayer, hoping that what we’ve tried to do might make a difference in their lives, but never really knowing if it does or not. The younger the students, the more unknowns there seem to be.

This week has been an unusual week for me. I’ve received intangible rewards from my students by the trucks loads. At the same time, my students have been teaching me what it’s going to take for me (or anyone) to be a successful writer. I hope you’ll follow along this week and learn from some of the kids from Jackson Elementary School. I think you’ll find that the future is plump with promise.

(Note: The names of all children in this week’s posts have been changed to protect the privacy of my students.)

Monday—A Clear Goal—Gertie
Tuesday—Confidence Built on a Positive Attitude—Susan and Butch
Wednesday—Confidence Built on Skill and Hard Work—Kim and Luis
Thursday—Perseverance—Kiona, Hammond, and Caine

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