Okay, Pete the Cat, has been one of our favorite books this year. The kids have loved the free downloadable jazzy music and his ‘cool cat’ demeanor in the book. Pete puts on his school shoes and sings his way through the school day, not fearing anything new that he encounters…even that scary LUNCHROOM. I was thinking about how it felt for me when I moved mid year to a new house and a new school. I was petrified, literally, for two years. As I sat at my computer this morning one of our ELL teachers came up to show me this big book that a 3rd grader had made for her at home. Last year this little boy moved from around the world to ours, a new and scary place for him. He didn’t know one word of English. One year later he was writing this beautiful book about how much he loved our school and his teachers…amazing… the simply crafted sentences, the perfect spellings and the very detailed illustrations outlining his school day. But what I found utterly fascinating was his love for his teacher and his new home in America. This very wonderful teacher had, herself, walked in his shoes just about twelve years earlier. She understands how to teach writing…because it is born in conversation and comes from the heart. Every day they practice saying the sentence and then writing down the sentence, together. It is simple and profound. I wish that I would walk slower, step in a child’s shoes more often…..slow down, slow down….take time to listen deeply.
A writers job is to put our hearts down on paper. We have to trust that every child has something to say…we need to teach the writer, not the writing.- Georgia Heard
PS because I like them- this year this student’s young mother died tragically of an infection. Today he told my friend that it was his birthday in two weeks. She said,”I’m excited for your birthday.” He said, ” I’m happy, but I’m sad too…because it is on the same day as my mothers.” He added, ” Will you help me make me make my mommy a birthday card?” …wow, is all I could say.