Serendipity. Even before I read the Katie Wood Ray quote on twowritingteachers prompt for today’s Slice of Life, I had decided I’d share an activity I used in class today based on Katie’s book Wondrous Words.

For the past four weeks 24 of my eighth graders spend 3 days a week writing for the sake of writing.  Today we wrote, but we also read picture books.  For 30 minutes I watched as my eighth graders read to each other and flipped through colorful picture books.  For the entire 30 minutes, conversation about books and writing took precedent over social events.  Talk about engagement!  I walked around the room, gently guiding their study of text structure, but mostly eavesdropping and smiling. 8:30 am and they were awake, reading, discussing, arguing over picture book structures.  Sometimes I answered a question such as, “What if the book fits more than one of these?”  But the best moment came with a few minutes left to class. “Are we doing this again tomorrow?”  I hadn’t intended to do so, but how can I say no to begging 13 and 14 year olds who usually are so intent on acting older than they are?  Their enthusiasm and the joy of watching them act like young(er) children is certainly a reason to read more picture books tomorrow and then write for the sake of writing.