|Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers|
host the Slice of Life every Tuesday.
Last week in writing class, I modeled writing about an important moment in my life. I knew it was important to come up with a moment that might resonate with my students so that they would be able to pick a good moment to write about. We discussed how a snapshot moment in writing shows instead of telling and I shared a few examples of snapshots. Then, I started sharing about the moment I had chosen to write about.
I chose to tell my students about the moment that my dog got hit by a car when I was in middle school. I told them that I chose this moment because it was so important to me. It was the really hard lesson I had in which I realized that it was a good idea to listen to my dad. I watched as my students nodded along as I told them this.
Then I proceeded to tell them the story. I was out picking up rotten apples from the ground under the apple tree and chose not to put my dog on his chain. I thought my dog would stay there with us and he didn't. We realized my dog was not there and then proceeded to call him. We were on the other side of the house when we heard the screech of brakes. When we got there, the dog was still alive but barely. We rushed him to the emergency vet, but he had too much internal bleeding for them to do anything. This was absolutely devastating to me at this age, especially because I didn't follow my dad's directions and I felt terribly guilty about the whole thing.
As I told the story, I filled out the graphic organizer the students would be using. I talked about sensory details and how I was feeling. I gave them a piece of my history.
Then, when it was time for them to start writing and I was circulating the room, I was bombarded with questions. What kind of dog was it? Did you get another dog? I also heard the stories from my students. It was overwhelming to hear about the way this story connected with my students. So many of them have experienced something similar with a beloved pet.
After reading their snapshots this weekend, I realized again how important it is to model in a real way for students. I chose a real moment that was important to me. We all connected through this experience and then my students found moments that mattered to them. And the best part is that I found a way to connect in a deeper way to my students and now I will know them in a deeper way through reading their writing.
So much of what we do in the classroom relies on the relationships that we build. My writing lesson last week reminded me that the best way to build a relationship is through sharing things that matter to us. By choosing a moment I thought would resonate with my middle school students, I inadvertently chose a moment that we all could share.
I hope to find more of these moments throughout this year in our writing workshop.