Sunday, January 20, 2008

Powerful Words

In the last week or so several of the bloggers I share with have been picking a word to make their own this year. Mine has been FLEXIBLE. The others have chosen equally powerful words to make them better individuals, family members and teachers. This week the power of words was made even more apparent to me. I was in a title school this week. For you who are not in education or at FWCS, that means the free and reduced lunch rate is VERY high. Many of the children come from homes where life is not the same as it was for me growing up.

In a fifth grade classroom, we had been working on responding to literature. We were trying to "think about out thinking" in the area of questioning. What questions do you ask as you read...before you read, while you read and after you read. It was the last day I would be with the class. I wanted to do something in nonfiction. I finally picked the book, Martin's Big Words. Since MLK Day was going to be observed on Monday, I thought it was appropriate to do that book. The student teacher introduced the FOUR BIG words that Martin had used. Then we watched a United Streaming video of someone reading the book. It was powerful. The kiddos wrote the four words on their sheets before the video. They took notes on their questions as they were reading. We listened to it twice. After completing their AFTER section of the paper, they went to their notebooks, picked a word and wrote. It didn't have to be a word that was a "Martin" word. They could pick their own, and many did: RESPECT was the most popular.

When we were done they needed to hurry to their special of the day. They were going to share when they came back. As they were filing out of the room, one boy stayed back waiting to get my attention. I finished talking to the teacher about what he would do next after I was not there any more. The boy had to rush out of the room to catch up with his class. I caught up to him in the hall. I asked him if he had wanted me to read what he wrote. He said yes. So I assured him I would. What he wrote knocked me over. I couldn't believe the power of it. I wrote it in my notebook and took it with me. I let the boy know how impressed I was with his entry.

Here is what he wrote:

Around every corner,
In every alley,
And within every shadow,
Lurks the presence of danger,
But never lose hope.

Words are very powerful!


Jen Barney said...

amazing kathy... how wonderful!

Sarah Amick said...

That day, you let the power of words made known for that kiddo. The motivation is there now, they will forever be trying to get back to that moment when their words mattered. That will keep that kiddo creating more words.