Write Beside Them was the title of the NCTE panel of Donald Graves winners from the last three years. I felt so proud and privileged to be on this panel along with Heidi Weber, 2013 winner, and Emily Elizabeth Smith, 2015 winner. Donald Graves’ philosophy that the teacher of writing is a writer herself drives my interaction with my students.
On Monday, the first day back after a week long break, we had a field trip. Not usually a good idea, but I signed up for the first rehearsal spot for our play at the Shadows, a local historical home. The gifted students in grades 4-6 practice the parts and perform for first graders. They tell the story of one of the boys, Charles Conrad Weeks, his sister Harriet, and his friends Riley and Caroline who lived and worked in the home in 1840. My students look forward to this play every year.
In addition to the play practice, I led my students down Main Street to an art gallery. There they looked at local art. This is where we wrote together.
I wrote beside them. Each of us chose a painting or other piece of art to inspire our writing. I wanted to leave behind little snippets on the artwork, so I found miniature brown bags for the kids to write on. We left them next to the art pieces. When the owner walks in this morning, he will have words waiting for him.
I wrote a poem for the work in progress on the easel.
An empty frame
Writing and art mix well together. My students described the artwork as well as found some inner truth to express. I don’t have any of the poems to share here today, but check back on Poetry Friday.