On Friday my school held Dance Night, a yearly event where the grade levels perform the dances they've been practicing in PE and Music. They come with their families, all dressed up, to show off their moves.
On Saturday 7 school buses of families met at our school and traveled into DC to go to a museum. We're so close to downtown DC, yet for busy families with no personal transportation it's hard to make it downtown. Sadly I was chained to my desk writing papers or I would have gone with them.
On Monday our students were non-stop chatterboxes. They wanted to share about dance night, the museum, anecdotal stories about their families, the dinosaurs they say, the view from the bus- anything that struck their five year old eyes as important. I wasn't in the room for writing workshop, but Mrs. Partner-in-crime was ecstatic about their great stories. Children who'd never really written a meaningful story with a beginning, middle, and end suddenly did. Pixie, who never really likes writing workshop, wrote PAGES. (For Pixie by write we mean draw, but the ability for her to tell a story in sequential order is huge).
At first we patted ourselves on the back for our great sequencing and retelling unit in reading workshop. And then we realized that wasn't it. The little ones finally had something to write about. Something besides going to kmart, playing wii, or eating dinner. It's amazing how writing flows when they are inspired and excited. I just wish we could give them more opportunities with their families. There are so many things our children need, and so much that can be bought and donated to them- winter coats, hats, tooth brushes, etc, but what they'll appreciate and remember more than anything else are the opportunities to be with their families and experience the world outside their apartment complexes.