Who’s Teaching Who?

December 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm 2 comments

Working with the writers in my favorite 2nd grade class today:

Last time I was there, Olivia – whose father had just recently died of cancer, wrote a gorgeous true story about being sad, and a tree in her back yard where she likes to sit, and when the sun comes thru the branches she thinks about him and doesn’t feel alone.
Today she shared with me a fictional story about a girl named Elizabeth “who suffered a loss” (her words) and cried and cried and cried. Elizabeth didn’t eat or play or read or do anything fun. She just cried.
Then one day Elizabeth decided to make Tear Soup. It took 3 months of crying, but finally the soup was made and just as it was finished the doorbell rang.
A friend was there. Elizabeth told her “harshly” to go away. But later Elizabeth apologized for being mean and invited the friend in and they watched movies and read and went outside and laughed. They laughed and laughed.
After the friend left Elizabeth realized she had forgotten all about the Tear Soup. But she knew she would never forget her dad.

I am in awe of this second grader.
And the healing power of her stories.
And her ability to process her grief thru writing.
And the mother who kissed her good bye this morning with the words, “Have a good day, my brave girl.”
Brave, indeed, to put one foot in front of the other and navigate this world without her father.

After I caught my breath and finished taking it all in; after I looked again into Olivia’s eyes and saw the proud smile that reached there; after I told her how much I loved her story and her writing — I stepped out of the way … of the real storyteller in the room…… the one who takes risks and writes from the heart and is willing to share and is just brave enough to hope she will make it thru this …. so she could take her book to the school’s Publishing Center.
Yep, I just got out of the way. It was Olivia who taught me today.

Entry filed under: Just Do It -- Stories from the Field, Steering the Craft_Writing Exercises, Teaching Artist. Tags: , .

Production Notes 3rd Graders Collect Family Stories

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lainie Levin  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Wow. Just…wow. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • 2. The Art of Michelle  |  January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    such an incredible story…it amazes me how brilliant children can be!


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