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When a Student Sings

I absolutely adore my creative writing class. I'm fortunate enough to have a small group of students that are willing to take so many risks in their writing. It might be because I've had half of them before as students. It might be because half of them know each other so well that they hang out outside of school. It might be because we spent a lot of time getting to know each other during the first few weeks of school. There are a lot of mights there, but these students, while diverse, just really seem to understand how important it is to make other writers feel safe and secure.

Each day, we start class with a student-generated writing prompt. I modeled this for the first few days of class, and then I asked students to take them over. They can look at craft, they can develop a "big idea" from a text, or they can even just play a song and let our pens wander. (I'm a little reluctant to admit this, but their prompts are often much better than mine.)

And two days ago, I had a student sing in class. Yes, sing. SING!

She's often willing to risk talking in front of her peers, even if she struggles to speak clearly and loud enough for all to hear. I was, however, completely blown away when her words were transformed into something moving, something touching, something more than just a writing prompt.

I have so many questions about the social dimension that has grown in this one class. I need these students to help me find ways to make all of my classes feel this comfortable when taking risks and sharing with their peers. Is it because the writing we've undertaken has been personally meaningful and relevant? Is it because they knew each other so well to begin with? Is it because they are mostly upperclassmen? There's so much to figure out, and there's oh so much to celebrate about these young writers.

Comments

  1. I don't know any answers to your questions, but I do have experience with students singing in class. What a joy. The entire class is focused on the one child, some with mouths agape, and it transforms us. A special day, for sure. So glad you documented it!

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