I've shared several of my students' essays (green journal essays, as they are written in a green composition book, due each Monday). This week's responses were priceless. The prompt asked the kids to share a bad experience.
At my request, four of my students shared their work with their classmates this afternoon. T wrote about having blood drawn, and the difficulty the medical assistant had attempting to draw T's blood. My favorite part made me laugh out loud, and had the same effect on my students.
"When she (the medical assistant) put the needle in, she could not take the blood out. It was so painful. My mom told them to stop. They told my mom she should take me to the lavatory. Instead she took me to McDonald's."
T laughed when I explained the difference between a lavatory and a laboratory. She's so quick to catch the joke. She commented without prompt from me that she probably could have found someone better to draw her blood at a lavatory than the clinic!
J shared his experience finding that he has a nut allergy, and had to travel by ambulance to the emergency room. His experience prompted several questions, and brought out his EPI pen for a quick explanation. Hopefully there will never be a demonstration.
C, my brilliant young man with difficulty producing quality work in readable penmanship, received his first score of a three. For all you "old-school" folks, basically a strong B. C generally sees ones and twos on his work. I had read and scored his essay during lunch, and while the kids were reading silently this afternoon, called C over to share with him his score. His eyes widened, he pumped his fist into the air, and threw his arms around me. He uttered, "I finally did it!" I told him how proud I was, that I recognized how hard he'd worked to earn that three, and asked if he'd share his work with the class that afternoon. He allowed me to share with his classmates his struggle. (Not that they didn't already know, but we don't tend to talk in group about individual academic struggle). His bad experience involved scoring a goal for the other team during a soccer game. I don't know if C recognized this, but not only did he produce a quality piece of writing, he made himself quite vulnerable in an arena he prides himself in excelling.
C, J, and T are writing stars today. E, one of the sweetest, gentlest boys I know, blew us all away with his essay today, and with his willingness to have his work read aloud. E put a twist on the prompt, writing about something positive that happened to him because of the help he offered those less fortunate.
E wrote about giving money to the homeless when others walked or drove on by, paying no attention. He shared the story of giving $5 to a man sitting on the road and of collecting a $1 bill thrown at the man and handing it back to him. His paragraph ended with the statement, "He was happy."
E's next paragraph described helping more people out, followed by his dad taking him to the arcade for changing the world. He ended his essay with the following paragraph, continuing the tale of the man on the road:
"The first poor guy was so happy. When it was another Saturday I went to see him. He was happy to see me. I asked him, "Why are you so happy? He kept smiling and then he said, "You want to know? I got a job." And then he started to cry.
And so did I.