Saturday, January 26, 2013


The amazing thing about fifth grade writers in late January is that they've become fearless.

The amazing thing about blogger Lisa-Jo Baker is her ability to draw writers together every Friday to write on one topic for five minutes.

Mix the two and you have a Language Artsy Friday afternoon in my classroom.

We'd just spent 45 minutes reading and sharing books with our second grade reading buddies.  The room was so full of students sitting in pairs, the second grade teacher and I had to tiptoe our way through.

Finally, the second graders were gone and it was time for writing exercise.

Before the topic, we agreed to write prose rather than poetry or lists.

Twenty-five students sat eagerly, notebooks open, pens in hand, waiting to give their all for five minutes on a writing topic.

Lisa-Jo did not disappoint.  The topic was "again".

Pens scratched noisily across landscapes of notebook pages in an otherwise silent classroom.

A focused silence, almost reverent.

I walked from table to table peeking over shoulders as writers quickly penned their thoughts.

The five minute mark arrived.

Notebooks in hand, students left their seats for the comfort of a large, berber rug.

They shared their writing and personal approaches on the topic.

  • the meaning of the word "again"
  • the sound of the word "again"
  • sibling rivalry episodes that occur "again and again"
  • vacations they want to take "again"
  • going to school "again"
  • being out of dress code "again"
  • if I had my ____ "again"
  • wanting to see a grandmother, long gone to Glory, "again"

I sat listening, in awe, to writers who once refused to write more than a sentence in September and October.
Writers who once drew stickmen in the margins of pages rather than write.  
Writers whose mantra was once, "I can't think of anything!"  

Now, I can send a one-word topic orbiting around the room and students willingly reach out to reel it in, ponder its existence, and then write on its relevance.

there exists a classroom of fifth grade writers,
who in late January, 
are fearless, 
and do not disappoint.

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