Since the quarter ends next week, I decided each class would participate in a literary salon to share their writing with staff that may be free that period. Students selected their own work to read and then made invitations, cutting construction paper and decorating with crayons and markers. I was stuck how calm they seemed when coloring- it has been in the news lately about how coloring is becoming more popular with adults and relieves stress. Students enjoyed the freedom to select paper and colors that suited them. I had to explain what a literary salon is though one student took a risk and suggested it was like a hair salon, but instead of different stations for various services, we read literature.
This week they wrote about their favorite songs and took a line and turned it into an original poem or song. One student told me that none of their music is school appropriate so I said they could write what they wanted as no one had to read their notebooks. Given that freedom, I didn’t read one poem that included language not considered school appropriate. The “never say no” theory played out.
They wrote about a school rule they’d change if they could and many complained about the dress code and black shoes requirement. Some felt they needed more homework and many agreed that standing in line silently is unreasonable. If I had more time with them, I’d teach persuasive writing and have them write letters to the school administration.
President Obama visited Newark briefly on Monday and there were high hopes that he’d stop in as the drug rehabilitation center he spoke at is around the corner from the school. Of course he didn’t come, but there was a lot of excitement that he was nearby. I asked students to pretend they could spend the day with the President and what they’d show him in Newark. Some mentioned parks, cultural and sports centers, and a few wrote they’d bring him to their grandmother’s to eat.
One student bit another (not in my class but one of my students) about a marker dispute. Very sad and a bit scary how quickly a little nothing can turn into a bigger something.