Celebrate: Think Time

This week has had it’s ups and downs. The trick is not letting it get to you. The up or the down.  Looking back to find the small moments to celebrate is big. It keeps me moving forward. Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for creating this space that honors the small stuff.

celebrate link up

This week marked the end of our personal narrative writing unit. This week I assessed their growth.  Watching students muscle through their thinking, settling on an idea and then proceeding to execute it in 45 minutes is fascinating and gut-wrenching.

A few jump right to it, hammering out line after line.

A few sketch, then write.

Several flip through their notebooks, filled with stuff.

A few just sit, staring into space.

Some fidget, clearly in pain.

And I watch the time slip by. Silently panicking for those who are playing with their pens or staring into space.

Fifteen minutes pass. By this point, most have gotten their stories going.

E sits with nothing. Nada.

I pace the room and wrap back around eventually circling behind E.

Miraculously, his paper is filled, and he’s on to page two.

I breathe. I’ve seen this happen. The kid who sits and waits and then bam. There it is. He’s the kid who needs to marinate.

This process of assessment is necessary. I hate doing it, but I need to see what they are holding on to and what needs to be worked.

The thing is – I know I would have been the one sitting, staring into space. I wasn’t asked to write in class “on demand” until I was in college, and I remember the shock of it. Now it’s expected of little ones. They get used to it and for the majority of students, it shows what they can do.

But what about kids like E. Like me?

Soon time’s up, and E hands me three filled pages. He looks at me earnestly and says, “This is the just the beginning. Can I have it back to finish next week?”

This week I celebrate kids who need to sit and think. The ones that have a lot to sift through before they commit their words to the page.

This week I celebrate the ones that want their writing back because it means something to them. They have a story to finish.

10 thoughts on “Celebrate: Think Time

  1. Julieanne, just the idea of being given a blank piece of paper and a ticking clock gives me writer’s block. I am so glad that E was able to produce a piece of writing and I am so glad that he has a teacher who understands the effort it took to produce it.

  2. I love your conclusion. They have a story to finish. Oh, I hate these assessments. But I see how you will use it to further develop your students as writers.

  3. Ah. Marinating. Definitely worth celebrating. This is a lovely celebration and a wonderful “sit with my coffee and learn from the wisdom of others” read. Thank you!

  4. In Estonia all we ever learned was on demand writing. I was scared of it. I learned the writing process as an adult. It made so much more sense to me than on demand writing.

  5. Lovely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know the writing on demand would have been challenging for me and I may have shut down as an elementary school student. Recently in a meeting we were given ten minutes to write something brief and it was only in the final minute that I wrote something I could share without embarrassment. I had already panicked and almost gave up, but I thought about how students must feel and buckled down to get it done. I guess I’m also one who likes to marinate.

  6. What a wonderful thing to celebrate! I love it. So true that some people need to marinate… and in this time of rush rush rush, go go go, learn learn learn… I’m so glad for teachers who allow waiting and thinking. 🙂

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