Glacier National Park 2010

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My whole body aches....I can barely put one foot in front of the other....and my brain is like mush......but today was great!  I am enjoying the interaction I'm having with my students so much. For years I've worked with At-Risk students who struggle with all aspects of learning to read....and I'm still working with struggling students however, this year I'm targeting writing skills. And I'm having so much fun!

The students constantly amaze me with how hard they try to express themselves.  In order to make it easier and more enjoyable, I bend the rules a bit.  By this I mean, they are told not to worry about spelling or grammar or mechanics ......just write.  That stuff will come. My theory is that if they worry too much about being "perfect" the thoughts won't flow. Once they've gotten comfortable with the flow of thoughts then we add mechanics.

Yesterday the fourth grade students I work with were given writing "prompts" and given time to write.  I was astounded by the amount of writing they produced in just 20 minutes.  As I began to read their work I was struck by a common thread.  No matter to which prompt they responded, these nine year olds wrote about helping things to people who were "poor."  They weren't concerned with themselves but with how they could make the world they live in a better place.

Now you have to understand, a lot of these students receive free or reduced meals, have parents who are out of work, or are being raised by a single parent or a grandparent......they don't have an easy life. It made no difference.  One of the prompts was,"if I had a sack of gold I would....." and another was, "if I could fly I would." I was touched to read about the different ways the students would distribute the gold to other people "who needed it more." Those students who wrote about flying also talked about rescuing cats from trees or taking people places they needed to go.  It was never about themselves...only about helping others.

Kind of makes it easy to understand why Jesus encouraged His followers to become "like the least of these" when speaking to and about children.  If, like my students, we thought more about helping others than helping ourselves imagine how much better our world would become.  I can't wait to tell those blossoming writers how they've inspired me to be more giving, to look beyond myself and reach out to those in need. 

I love my job!    

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