A fourth grade teacher sits at her desk, the first rays of morning sunshine cutting through the blinds and striping the stained carpet. Her eyes move swiftly across the screen of her computer, open to a student’s writing from yesterday. The only sounds are the click of keys and scribble of a pen as she types comments into the document and makes notes on a chart next to her.
The bell rings, jolting her out of concentration. She quickly switches the document to a morning message to display on the screen for her students. The teacher proceeds to the door, opening it with a smile. She greets her students with a “Good morning” in a cheery voice. The quiet room becomes a hubbub of children’s voices and movements as they unpack backpacks, sharpen pencils, and recount stories of yesterday’s adventures to their friends.
The teacher joins the hubbub, moving quickly, but unhurried around the room. She stops at a student’s desk and discreetly gives him a graphic organizer to help with his morning spelling assignment. “I hope your sentences make me laugh again today,” she tells another student with a wink. A student struggling to hang up a backpack gets a hand from the teacher and a gentle point to remind him to read the morning message. An energetic girl runs up to her, eyes lit with excitement.
“Guess what!” she exclaims. Continue reading
Molly Kirk teaches 5th grade at Foothill Elementary in Boulder. For her CWP 2 research project, she created a database of mentor texts to use with her students. In her research paper, Molly explained the resource she wanted:
I have been using mentor texts for writing for the past two years and love how quickly my students connect to them and how they return to them over and over again. My teaching partner and I thought it might be most useful to use those mentor texts for two reasons – for guiding writing and for guiding souls. What if every text we used was not just laced with amazing writing craft but also with great life advice? What if we focused on CCSS AND helping our students find connection, compassion and character while they are learning? I set out to create a resource that was tailored to meet both of those criteria.
You can find the database she built here.
Molly completed CWP 1 in June of 2013 and CWP 2 in June of 2015.
I live with Aliens.
They’ve been with us for millennium,
but they are not like you and me.
With me they walk around on their
seven toed feet.
Hemingway loved them.
These aliens come from that Hemingway line.
Perhaps there’s something of Ernest in them.
They are dramatic after all.
Crying out at odd times.
Not too clear about what they’re trying to communicate.
Saying it regardless.
Staggering there and then here
seven toed feet.
Willing to do anything to remain, the
Center of Attention.
Piles left in hidden places
to be found
when others are present,
or stepped on in the middle of the night.
Perhaps Hemingway was an Alien.
I can see him flicking his tail,
Certainty in his Being.
I provide for my aliens and they ignore me.
I put treats in their food to help their
and they stare me down.
I’m not necessarily afraid of them, mind you,
even though I wake to see them sitting above me,
but it’s not like they’re my friends either.
They’re nothing like you and me.
That’s really all there is to say about it.
Holly Hughes teaches at Community Montessori in Boulder and completed CWP 1 in June of 2015.
We had an awesome last day celebration today. We laughed, we cried, we reveled in each other’s words. Thank you to the entire group–I loved every moment working with you over the last two weeks.
here I am with this new group of CWP fellows
Here was the scene outside of the library at Fairview High School this morning:
photo credit, Mary Salter
On Thursday afternoon, I invited participants to share some golden lines, their favorite lines of writing that they’ve produced so far this week:
For months, dogs chirruped about the sheer fact that Max had survived the situation at all, let alone that it would forever launch him into a sort of notorious fame. Max was considered one of the baddest prairie dogs in the history of of Rabbitbrush.
We are so good at circling each other / avoiding what needs to be said / that we come together like an explosion of startled birds / wings flapping, feathers ruffled / startled and angry.
There is only this loud memory that needed to be written. Needed out.
I clumsily grasped the reins with the hand already filled with the bit and the bridle. “Easy girl. Easy.”
Ultimately we travel alone and need to know the world through the eyes of our souls.
Perhaps Hemingway was an Alien. / I can see him flicking his tail.
The din of kids yelling and screaming around me contrasted with the silent shame that began to overtake me like a dark cloud.
This is the scene waiting for the participants of the first CWP 2-week workshop of the summer of 2015. It’s the library at Fairview High School in Boulder. I can’t wait to meet everyone (and see the people who are returning from last year or the year before) and get started on our two weeks together!