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.
7 thoughts on “Celebrate: Read Aloud in their Midst”
Flexibility is key. Sensing the mood of the group, being in touch with the time of year, knowing when to pull back on the intensity of teaching…these are all indicators of a seasoned teacher who knows “his/her kids.” Don’t we all need a little gentle prodding now and then? I imagined myself sitting there with you and your students. It felt good,
I loved being right there with my students, too, Julieanne, & they were middle school aged, always had a favorite spot, & lucky us that we had a large living area. I love that line “this is so weird”. Good for you for making the weird happen!
I like how you sensed the height inequity and maybe even the power inequity and solved it by literally getting down on your students level. I will bet things looked different but more inviting to you and to them that day. How fortunate they are to have you to guide them along their paths.
Love this post of being in their midst and the invitation you gave them. It makes me want to sit down with your group, grab my notebook, and look, smell, feel, hear and write!
I love imagining you sitting in the midst of the carpet with your kids. A change of pace, or view, is always good to give kids a new perspective. I’m sure some good writing was done.
Beautiful and thanks for the reminder to change our point of view. 🙂
Writing alongside students is a gift you give them and yourself. These lines resonated with me: Letting the words move our pens, as thinkers, as readers, as writers. And sometimes we let words wash over us.