Today is a Proms & Potties exclusive, with the theme of writing!
I had a chance to talk to LilyBelle’s kindergarten teacher yesterday; a conversation that enlightened me to the wonder that IS the LilyBelle! haha….Her teacher, Ms. Avery, told me that the class had written a leprechaun story, and Lily just wrote on and on and on. Lily piped up and said, “Yeah, I wrote three pages front and back. I just couldn’t stop the story.” Her teacher laughed and said she told Lily that she was going to “be a writer just like her mama.” I took that complement and laughed with them.
LilyBelle really has amazed me at the skill and determination with which she approaches writing. It’s almost as if she zones out as she’s crafting and meticulously sounding out each sound she hears in words. She shows no fear in using “big” words — anything that is in her speaking vocabulary, something that I think is pretty high, but that’s probably because she’s a girl, right? She is as comfortable composing digitally with iPod apps as she is with pencil and paper.
I can’t help but compare her writing and language to Jakey-poo at the same age. His writing was through elaborate storytelling using action figures — hours of playing with Batman, the Joker, and Star Wars characters. Did I capture those like I would now? No, because at that time, video-taping wasn’t available on my phone or at the drop of a hat. What did I miss out by not recognizing these storytelling techniques? He had problems writing –handwriting included — but he would stop himself from coming up with ideas, wait until the last minute to finish a writing assignment, and convince himself he couldn’t do it anyway. It wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school that he felt remotely comfortable with writing — and this was on the side. He’d had a pretty bad break up and began writing poetry (he called what he was writing, songs, though). He started posting some of them on his Facebook page when he was a senior, and, because of the feedback he got from his friends, he’d edit, create, and post more. He finally started a blog on Tumblr last spring where he reviews new music and movies and posts more of his songs. So, he’s come into his own with expressing himself, and has told me he’s mastering my art of waiting until the last minute to write a paper for class and still get a decent grade (I’m not sure he would actually beat me on that one, though! haha
As I talked to Lily in the car about her story, I found out she hadn’t read to anyone in the class — just a quick conference with her teacher. But what I see from Jake is that feedback and audience matter. I know this as a writing teacher, but still struggle with how to manage this in a class of 32 students. But I will conquer this demon of mine and stop being lazy about finding the answers. Jake didn’t share his writing until he had an audience other then me, and Lily won’t keep writing if she doesn’t have an audience; and if the audience can’t be at school, then I’ll make the audience her family. Or, today, her audience will be my community of Slicers. I’m deconstructing her writing and what I think I can learn from it to help me be a better high school writing teacher over at my UNC Charlotte Writing Project blog if you’re interested in that.
I had LilyBelle make a VoiceThread of her leprechaun story, and she gave me permission to share it here on my blog. So, I’m posting it and hope that some of you will make a comment at some point in her story (the last page seems easiest). The thread plays automatically, but if you want to comment on an individual page, just click the Add Comment link. The four icons are: telephone — call a number to record your message; webcam — you can videotape your comment; microphone — you can record your comment; letter A — you can simply type your comment. Lily will be able to hear/read your comments — and you can hear/read others comments just by clicking on their picture. If you want to hear her story, just click the picture below and it will open the VoiceThread page. I hope this works because she really needs an audience!!