Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Day of Celebration at Hill Central: middle school and 1st grade writers

Yesterday, I had the honor of working with Fairfield's Performing for Change and spoken word Diva, Attallah Sheppard, as we hosted the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade composes to kick off a month before their third annual Spoken Word slam.

Attallah and I stuck around, however, invited by the young(er) writers in 1st grade who wanted to debut their argumentative writing they completed since February. They had a surprise for me! They read their arguments in a mini-digital story with letters to Mr. Worthy on why Hill Central is a great school. I was immensely impressed by their articulation of learning, reading, subject areas and making new friendships. They took their first drafts of a couple of sentences and sculpted front and back prose in their best handwriting to their stellar principal.

Attallah made her mark with the young writers, too, and several, including Tyler, acknowledged that HER presence made him love writing even more. In fact, he and a friend who sat where Attallah and I were writing ourselves declared a battle over winning the affection of the Diva. Together, we composed our own argumentation.
Dear Mr. Worthy,
Today I learned that Juvian and Tyler have a crush on Attallah. They are in first grade and way too young for the Diva. Even so, they are charming and cute writers who are learning to make arguments with what they wish to express.
Perhaps a more age-appropriate Diva is in existence at Hill Central. These will be young girl writers who will one day be like Attallah and who will one day like boys who see themselves as writers, too.
Wow! Look at Juvian and Tyler write now! Go, Power Writers! Go! Write your way to her heart.
Also, while you're at it, eat your vegetables to grow big and strong. Attallah likes when suitors stand taller than her knees and are able to look her in the eyes.
Mr. Bryan 
What all of us who worked with the writers realized is that spoken word and argument resonated with them. I was proud to learn that individuals who never took at interest in composing were actively composing today. I admit, too, that when the 1st graders shared their digital story with me, I had to fight back tears. Not only did they practice composing, but they also practiced reading and connecting with an audience. So many literacies were captured by the efforts of their hard work!

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