Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Slice of Life #4: I Burped In Class Today
I burped in class today.
It started when twenty-four eager faces were staring at me as the minilesson that starts our writer's workshop got underway. Today's learning target was "Writers write, even when they are adults." I was explaining the Slice Of Life blogging contest and how it was forcing me to stretch out of my comfort zone. I wanted my student writers to know that I like to write, and these lessons and tips are not just for 5th grader writers. Adults use them too. I explained that I am trying to walk the walk, and practice my writing as well. "I am a better writing coach for you, if I am a writer myself," I said. This group of 11 year olds authors shook their head as if the world was finally making sense.
What was the next a-ha moment that I was going to share about the life of a writer. Tell me, Mr. Jones. How can I make magic with my writing pencil? What pearl of wisdom will you share with us?
I was on a roll. It was one of those moments that classroom communities have when the stars are aligned and everything is working. Everyone was focused and alert. There was an energy in the class that was palpable. There was no doodling on journal covers, no picking at eraser tops, no playing with shoelaces. I had their attention. They looked at me. I looked back at them. Our eyes locked with anticipation of the next insightful statement that would float from my mouth and into their journals.
As I opened my mouth to share my next pearl of wisdom, it happened. What my students heard next was no pearl of wisdom. More like a noisy nugget of smelly air. It crept up my throat like a morning fog, but a morning fog that belches. I was not prepared for this. This had never, ever happened to me before. This burp was supposed to be a private little moment, but it had now been exposed to the world.
The 5 second silence that followed felt like an eternity. They were all looking at me with their heads cocked to the side like a dog. The expressions on their face asked, Did that just happen? It did happen. I owned it and shared that this had never happened before. The laughter that followed spread around until it eventually hit me. There was nothing I could do but laugh. I had just burped, and burped loudly, in front of my class.
Today's New Learning Target: Sometimes writing is like a giant burp. You never know when you'll be inspired to do it. Ideas can creep into your mind when you least expect them. And sometimes writing, like a big burp, just plain stinks.