The panic nagging,
The smell of death thick like fog,
The sound of screeching, trapped people,
The sirens blaring,
The place of death,
The scar is still there,
The sadness haunts
Yesterday, on the anniversary of 9-11, I was able to visit a fifth grade classroom in my hometown. When I got there they were just beginning the focus lesson in writing workshop. The unit of study this month is 'Discovering our own Writing Process'. Various lessons had been taught to help shape the writing no matter what genre the child was using.
As the students went off to write, I scanned the room and then sat next to a few students. Each student had their own agenda and was busily working. Hunter was drafting a picture book set in 1939 with a flashback to 1929. I chatted with him and offered a suggestion to help the reader know the main characters a little better. Ellie was revising her poem on rats. They would soon be getting rats for a science project. As she read her poem we realized she was using her senses to describe. She decided to add a few more lines about the senses to help the rhythm of the piece. Katie was working on her novel about a kidnapping.
"It's going to be really long," she said, as she flipped through page after page.
Next came sharing time. Clayton shared the beautiful poem about the twin towers...a fitting piece for the day. Faith shared a poem called Grandma's House. She used what she learned in the focus lesson: Writers use space to allow a reader to enter a piece of writing. But, she also used vivid details to paint a picture in the reader's mind.
Grandma's house was always clean,
Grandma's house used to always have mints,
Grandma's house was so much fun.
Grandma was always sitting in the turquoise rocking chair.
And sometimes when I go there I still see me and my grandma sitting,
I still see me and her sitting there eating mints and watching TV.
Visiting a classroom where writer's workshop is happening with ease and precision, is a true joy!