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.

12 comments:

  1. You have inadvertently posted in the classroom section, when I think you want the individual slicers section. You have time to repost your link at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/sol14day4/.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know. I always have trouble finding the link to post my permalink.

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  2. Loved your slice of a very REAL moment! :) sounds like you handled it beautifully, and unlike your burp, this post doesn't stink at all! ;)

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  3. That. Was. Awesome. Made even more so by the fact that I know you personally. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I bet I know what your students talked about at the dinner table tonight! But I bet they will also never forget that mini-lesson! So funny!

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  5. I love the anticipation you build for the reader by focusing on how attentive your students were - you recreated it beautifully! The fact that you can laugh at it is great, and that it because inspiration for this piece - even better! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Oh.. that noisy nugget… great story.. I can't wait until tomorrow's lesson!

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  7. This is greatness! And I love that you laughed along with your class - a lesson they won't be soon to forget. :)

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  8. I love this story! You had me on the edge of my seat and then you made me laugh! :) I love your perspective on the situation! Isn't the Slice of Life so exciting? I was working with a third grade class today and I think I actually gushed over the experience! :)

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  9. Making the most of those teachable moments! Love it! (Laughing)

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  10. Outstanding. My favorite part was that I knew it was going to happen. You told me in the first sentence. Yet there was a sense of anticipation. I also loved that you painted a picture of the classes anticipation by talking about what they were NOT doing (doodling, picking, playing). Great post!

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  11. Priceless! I agree with Beth above...even though you told me what was going to happen, you let me forget with all of the in between details and it surprised me! I can easily picture your 5th graders' rapt attention and cocked heads! Keep slicing!

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