Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SOLS 8/31

Z sat staring at the papers on his desk. He had done his homework the night before; a one page slice of life story sat on the desk beside his yellow writing pad. I was just happy he'd done the story. I wasn't going to nit-pick his lack of following directions (1 1/2-2 pages, double spaced, on the yellow lined paper). I had taken the class through the exercise of identifying sensory details or places where sensory details could go and set them to the task of revising/rewriting their stories. But still, Z sat. After the second or third time I went to help him, after more of his classmates had finished their revisions and were moving on to the next part of class, I tried one more time to help him.

"I know you're a good writer. You write wonderful, creative, fun stories and poems all the time. What is keeping you from getting it from your head onto your paper?"

He looked at me wide eyed and shook his hand in front of me, as if the appendage had a mind of it's own. "This! My hand."

"Okay. Well, how are we going to get past this block?"

"I don't know. I can do made- up stories easy. It's when I have to write about real life, that I get stuck. I mean, if this was a story about my super-powered Granma fighting the evil oven monster instead of telling about getting home from school to find my granma cleaning the oven, I'd be fine."

"That's it!" I cried. "That's the story you write! Super-granma vs. the evil oven monster!"

Z laughed so hard, I thought he was going to fall out of his chair. He really liked that idea. I left him chuckling and went to help another student. Several minutes later, when we transitioned to the grammar lesson, Z hadn't moved beyond his first sentence. The rest of the class handed in their revisions and we started reviewing linking verbs. After school, when Z was with me for part of the after-school homework session, he still hadn't finished his story. When it was time for his ride to leave he had only a few more sentences written.

I was so delighted at that moment in class when we discovered the story that needed to be told. The one that only Z could tell in his unique style. I thought I'd finally found the switch with him. I thought, now he'll get his writing done. But so far, this story does not have a feel-good- this - is -how-it-works- for- the -ones -who- write- the-teaching- books ending.

1 comment:

  1. Keep at it. Boys struggle. Support is so important. Thank you for helping him find a story, for allowing him to conference with you. I wonder if he can speak the story to someone? Does he have all the ideas or does he need to process with someone? MaryHelen