share your stories.

Sometimes I feel that as teachers we are so focused on preparing kids for the next level that we forget what writing can do for them right now.  And even more often, we forget what a gift we are giving them by instilling the habit of writing everyday.

This weekend my husband’s 88 year old grandparents came over for dinner.  They had compiled a DVD of photos and gave these as Christmas gifts.  As we were watching the segment of their childhoods & early marriage, we wanted to know more.  So, Saturday night, we played the DVD, paused on the photos, and asked for the stories behind them.

Although they shared many wonderful stories (and some sad ones too), I was left wanting to know more.  The details were lost.  Big details — the dates and the places and even sometimes the names.  And small details — the thoughts and colors and giggles and menus.  As I listened to them weave their tales, I was reminded once again that in the stories of our lives we find meaning.

As our students are collecting bits and pieces of their lives, may we help them to find meaning in their everyday existence.  It is by learning to make sense of our daily lives that we can in turn impact the world in meaningful ways.  And isn’t that our job as teachers?  To enable the bodies in our classrooms to someday impact the world in important ways?

Share your stories with your students and let them share their stories with you and with others.  Then push yourselves to find meaning in these stories.  Let the writing take you into genres beyond personal narrative and memoir.  Foray into poetry and research and essay and more.  This is the heart of writing workshop.