Gayle Danley, a slam poet, is working with the 8th grade students this week. Did I mention that already? Anyway, on Tuesday she shared with them her 5 step writing process:
1. Write it all down
2. Read it aloud
3. Cut the fat
4. Read it aloud (again)
5. Add flava
Then she gave the students a writing prompt/sentence starter to get them going on step one:
This is what I saw...
Gayle asked them to write at least a page of everything they saw (and felt) about one particular moment in their life that they felt connected to. Fascinated by the chance to be able to participate in the workshop, instead of leading it, I opened my writer's notebook and started scribbling down my thoughts.
I jumped ahead of myself a bit. Before the scribbling began, she encouraged everyone to close their eyes for a few moments to imagine this moment in our mind's eye. Now even though this worked for me, I can't imagine the response I would get in my actual class if I told them to close their eyes and just think. I would be reluctant to say it to my students; my corny radar would turn on and shut my mouth down. Gayle, however, is a performer and it didn't seem odd at all for her to make such a request, it felt organic. The kids felt it, I felt it. We all closed our eyes.
While my eyes were closed, my mind traveled waaaaaay back to my pre-teen years, when my father taught me - through his reaction - that I had to keep my writing hidden. It's funny during retrospection, but I was scared then.
Today, I had planned to share it out loud during the workshop, but I chickened out. Perhaps tomorrow I will have more courage...if the snow doesn't detain us...