As a teacher, I cherish those magical moments when a class loves a book as much as I do and like wildfire, the class has developed its own incredible lesson. This happened last week while I read In November by Cynthia Rylant. It was amazing and an experience I couldn't wait to share with some of my colleagues that value these magical moments as much as I do! If you don't know this book, you should! It is amazing and full of mesmerizing verse and inspiring personification. I always tell my students, I love it when I read a book and it leads me to think about something in a way I never have before. This is one of those books. It begins by describing the earth as covered by a blanket and the trees with the outstretched, boney arms of a dancer. (forgive me for paraphrasing-I don't have the book at home with me.) And, it ends with magical words depicting "mother earth" as kissing her children's heads and tucking them in until spring. I am not doing it justice....you'll have to read it!
The real magic happened when my students were as awe struck as I was by Rylant's words. They began to share their own ideas for personification and describing the change in seasons. One student proclaimed that trees in fall are "going bald because it's like all of their hair is falling out." There were so many ideas flowing I grabbed the chart paper and started to write them down. Then, one student declared we needed to write our own poem about November. (I love it!) So, we looked at our word choice again and worked together to change 3-4 of the words to more interesting words. Then, we organized the ideas that went together and wrote them all in order. The poem is incredible!! A group of students later worked on painting a large piece of paper to publish the poem. The finished product is simply a treasure!! I left my camera at school, but I will post pics this week.....maybe even a video of a student reading the poem. Stay tuned!
Once again, I am humbled by the brilliance of young children. I learn as much (if not more) than I teach. When we are open to learn, the possibilities are endless.