Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recognizing the gift of words

A few days ago, when my students walked into class, they were greeted by a bouncing me chirping that I had a surprise for them.  On the screen, they found a selection of quotations about writing and stories to contemplate:

Next, I invited students to think even more about the power of words:
(This summer at CAWP, the wonderful Kevin Cordi always told us that words are a gift.)
I shared two examples:

  • The daily emails and weekly letters that my husband and I sent each other when I lived in Spain.
  • When I wrote an article for the TBDBITL game-day newsletter about how much band meant to me, and the editor put it on the front page!  For the whole next week, band members were talking about how special it was and how my words made them think and feel.
Next, students got a few minutes to sketch or brainstorm their own special memories, and then we came back together to share as a class.  Some highlights (and remember, I teach high schoolers!) were:
  • The boy who drew a flower and explained that it represented his mom, who always ends an argument or admonishment by reminding him that she loves him no matter what he does.
  • Several students who described how they cherish calls and video-calls to family members back in their countries.
  • The shy girl who shared that when she left Japan, her best friend told her to look up at the sky while they're apart, because the same sky covers the whole world.
  • The boy who didn't want to share, and then showed me his paper privately.  He'd written: "when my mom and dad say they love me."
  • The girl who said that when she'd been going through a rough time last year, a friend had told her to not give up, because "strong bends but doesn't break."
Those brief, courageous moments of sharing certainly brought our community closer, and then it was time to reveal my surprise!  I reminded them that I went to a writing camp this summer, and then began to show pictures of a special day at the CAWP retreat: the day Kevin brought StoryBoxes to share!  

You can probably guess the surprise now, but there's more to share, and this post is already too long... Guess you'll have to read more tomorrow!


  1. This is simply amazing and worth shouting from the roof tops. Great. work Jen!

    1. Thanks so much, Kevin! My students are really excited about the project! :-)

  2. Thank you for getting involved in such an amazing resource. I'm going to pass it on to the teacher in our district who does the same kind of work you do.

  3. This sounds amazing. And, I'm so mad I haven't been keeping up with blog reading. Look what I miss out on! Checking into this further today. I have some amazing stories going on in my room!

    1. I know how you feel, Deb - I've gotten all behind on blog reading, and I'm sure I've missed so many great posts & ideas! We'd love for your students to contribute to the StoryBox! :-)


Comments make me happy and I'd love to hear from YOU! :-)