Sami and I sat in the bunny hutch and held two small bunnies, letting them breathe into our ears as if they were telling us their little bunny secrets. Their tiny bunny hearts beat under our hands. Sami giggled as fur flew up into the fall air, illuminated by the sun.
Tori and I sat in a land-locked canoe listening to crows caw and call and feeling the sun warm our faces, while Lily watched little children try to walk in a straight line. They didn't; they wobbled and weaved bouncing off of each other like bumper cars.
Emma perched in the Chicken Tree, hidden from the world, all but her long legs dangling from the branches. She picked pine needles and listened to the laughter of the preschoolers nearby. Olivia sat in the 4/5 commons, feeling awkward sitting in a space she's just left, barely fitting her long legs under shorter tables.
Eli sat on the tire swing capturing the warmth of rubber from the sun; he noticed the sound of leaves as they spiraled in the wind. Should he turn back to the laptop on the picnic table and get writing? Or should he linger on the swing for just one more moment...
Sixth and 7th graders were wrapped up with the ghosts of childhood past, knowing that the sweet spot of being a child is soon gone, replaced with the freedom and responsibility of adolescence. This makes them melancholy. This makes them loud. This makes them wise. And they wrote about it.
Some kids cried as they wrote. Others just noticed nature. Others just sat with themselves; 15 minutes of being still is good for any soul. Writers write as they live their lives. Only a fraction of what they compose in their heads actually finds its way to print. This was part of the day's lesson.
I wonder if I teach the right way. "Will they be prepared?" I ask myself. Will horses, canoes, chicken trees and bunnies develop these children into the writers and thinkers we hope to cultivate? This is what I ask myself every single day.
And my answer is always yes. They will. For to write, to write anything, you must know yourself, where you came from and where you are going.
Notice. Think. Breathe. Write.
By Meddie Finnegan, Middle Years English Teacher