How Do You Communicate with a Writer?
You don’t raise your hand when you have a question. You wait until I’m across the room and yell, “HOW DO YOU SPELL ‘COMMUNICATE?'”
As patiently as possible I walk between rows and groups of desks, breathing slowly, trying not to let your disruption drive me crazy.
People are writing! I want to tell you. Don’t you know how difficult that is? What can’t you get a dictionary and figure it out for yourself? Or don’t worry about spelling at all. Just get your ideas down!
I know saying these things won’t do any good at all. I know that will produce writing without any scars. I’ll read about a really great summer vacation you took when you were in fourth grade.
When I get to your desk, I kneel down so I’m at eye level with you. You hold the pencil, ready.
“C-O,” I begin, and you write. I notice you still have a child’s hand. Not quite an adult, and not a baby anymore, but you’re living between those two worlds, trying to merge them. Trying to make sense out of a world you’re leaving and a world you’re entering.
I finish spelling the word, and you ask if I’d like to see what you’ve written.
“Sure,” I say, and you slide your paper toward me. I read it aloud softly and smile at the funny parts.
“That’s great,” I tell you. “You’re a good writer,” and I can tell by your eyes I’ve surprised you. “Do you like to write?” I inquire.
“Yes,” you say as it dawns on you that you do like to write, that you are a writer.
This week write a poem titled How To Spell “Communicate” and try to show the conflict of two perspectives. What merges? What emerges?
I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writingfor quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.
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