I gave my first final yesterday and I’ll give one today and one tomorrow. My freshmen are reading their narrative quests and their mentor letters out loud to satisfy our oral communication standard. They aren’t nervous because they’ve been sharing their writing everyday since the first day of school. It is always fun to hear them read their own work as they pause momentarily catching an error or because they’re caught up in the story and a smile grabs onto lips or a sadness crosses their threshold. They remind me, sometimes, of my horses- clearly sending out information to each other without speaking.
When we wrote our last entries in our writer’s notebooks, in class anyway, two days ago, one student was reading his work and went on about how he’d be watching good shows on TV, listening to good music, and hanging out a lot. In an effort to suggest that he be a bit more detailed in his summer plans, I said, “Oh, so you’ll be watching that antique tractor show on RFDTV, blasting out the John Denver and going to places like the Windmill State Park in Gibbon, Nebraska? Me too!” They all groaned but the point was made. His narrative quest detailed his journey through his first full day of school-from his mom gently waking him and getting him to school to finding his name on his own desk to his teacher leading his new class on a tour of the school and his relief to get back to his desk because his name was something he knew. The letter he wrote to that first teacher was comical and also disconsolate as he recalled how wonderful nap time was and how much he missed the dark quiet of mats on the floor after lunch.
My prayers this week have been for all of my students, in brick and mortar and online, for the long summer and their ability to capture some adventure, for their safety, for their longing to belong, for their families and their travels, and yes, for their writing.