Gather Your Writers... (Slice of Life Challenge)

“Can we even write comics?” grinned Cameron who, while in first grade, helped his cousin burn down the house. My response, of course, was a spirited, “Yes, you can! I’ll be thrilled to have you with us!”

What event is so great as to draw out arsonists turned cartoonists (now in fourth grade)? It was our “Gathering of Writers,” held today after school to celebrate the upcoming National Day on Writing For an hour, I enjoyed the company of forty-five second through sixth graders who call themselves writers! What a tremendous turn-out. With only a day’s notice, this group made their way to the library once the bell rang, hauling writers’ notebooks, paper, pencils and ideas. I began our time together with a brief inspirational power point about writing, then showed them around to stations I’d set up, not really knowing how all this was going to go; just me and... so many of them.  It was easy, really, off they went...writing. I always say, "If you treat students like real writers, they'll behave like real writers." This certainly was the case this afternoon.

Most happily got right to work at library tables composing pieces of their own choosing, some of which had been started previously, some new. 

 Others wanted response to pieces they’d brought…

While still others took me up on some prompts for writing…
Looking at an art print, Hailie wrote:

Here are a few of our favorite moments from our gathering:

Tanner shared his personal narrative about a trip to his grandmother's house on Bear Lake (here's a paragraph we particularly liked):

"One day I found this wicked orange and black wooly caterpillar!  It was so cool (as a five year old)! My oldest cousin snatched the caterpillar and whizzed it off the balcony.  Ahhhh!  Where did he land?  Before I could ask, he chucked a huge rock after it.  I ran after the caterpillar and searched all day, but couldn't find it.  I mourned over it because I adored it."

Libby, who was reading in a designated area from books I'd selected:
(I created stations by clipping instructions to free standing foam boards.)
shared a hilarious poem with me, then giggled off to enjoy it with another writer...

("Mr. Beefy" from Once I Ate a Pie: Dogs Tell All by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest)
A bit later, she wrote a poem of her own, not on the same topic, but like MacLachlan's, it didn't rhyme!

Malinka shared, “I was looking around for a little inspiration and noticed the cover of this book with the pumpkins on it.  So, I wrote:

It is autumn.
The leaves are falling
Pumpkins are carved
The weather is changing
It is cold
Birds are flying south
There are pumpkin patches
It is fall."

And what about Cameron?  He worked on his comic with much enthusiasm, especially after I showed him these little ditties I picked up for him (and, naturally, other interested writers) :

(Speech bubble sticky notes! 97 cents at Walmart)

When I presented them to him I said, "I had you and your comics in mind." 

He replied, "I like your idea.  Let me get to work." 

At the end of the hour, he added, "I don't want you to see this yet.  I'll share it when I'm all done.  It will be sixty pages."  A bit grandiose, for sure, but remember, this little guy burned down a whole house.  I'm looking forward to reading all sixty pages.



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