My fifth graders and I greet each day with writing time. Students file into the classroom, and after a few minutes of chitchat, take out their writer’s notebooks or power up their iPads and begin writing. Some students embraced this writing time right away, others came to it more slowly. One of those students is Tanner. Tanner is a striving reader and writer. When I offer extra writing time during lunch, he politely declines and heads to the cafeteria. While he writes daily, his notebook holds little writing.
Then last Monday, he came to school happy to share that he caught a forty-pound pike while ice fishing that weekend. He showed me the picture on his iPad. I marveled, “This is amazing! We have to show the class!” We proceeded to screen share his image with the class and he told them about it. When my cooperating teacher, Stacy walked in to teach math I exclaimed, “Tanner, you have to show Mrs. Parker this picture!” And he did.
A few days later, Tanner walked up to me and handed me a sheet of paper. He said, “Ms. Senatore, I wrote this poem for the bulletin board.” Note: our class has taken over several empty bulletin boards in the hallway to display our poetry. I took the sheet of paper and discovered that Tanner had written a poem about catching his forty-pound pike. He used the format with which we explored the light in our lives.
But mostly, light is
A huge grin spread across my face for I had not suggested that Tanner write a poem about his achievement. I merely gave him the time and space to decide to write about it on his own. An Ice fishing poet? Now that is some beautiful light!