•Lucy Calkins in her 3-5 kit writes, “Today I want to teach you that writers sometimes think of a place that matters; then we list small moments that occurred in that place, moments we remember with crystal-clear clarity.”
Two Writing Teachers encourages us to think about the special place using this criteria:
-A special place in your heart for this location
-How you feel about the special place (years later)
-How special place shaped or changed you as a person
-Fits into the pattern of your life (who you are, how things normally happen)
I demonstrated being on the ride, “It’s a Small World” at Disney World with my dad and son. I demonstrated for students by writing on chart paper how to quickly jot some ideas about my special place.
After a fun-filled hot summer day of long lines, we arrived at the It’s a Small World ride. My dad and I squeezed into the front seat. My dad squished his long legs into the front seat. I didn’t mind since it reminded me of all the hugs from daddy I had gotten over the years.
As we rode along in the boat, we looked for the hidden Mickeys. Andrew pointed each hidden Mickey out to us patiently explaining that they had to be purposefully placed there by an employee, not an accidental decoration. I often pointed out false ones. He does not even need the Hidden Mickey book.
My dad sang the song over and over never missing a verse or a repetition of the song. Even when the ride paused to let off passengers, we kept on singing just like when I was a little girl. It reminded me of sitting in church next to my daddy every Sunday growing up.
My too-cool-to-sing high school son just shook his head. He was trying so hard to pretend he was not sharing his bench seat with his mom and grandpa. But he actually likes to hang out with us, after all it is Disney.
After the ride ended, Andrew rolled his eyes and actually suggested that we all get in line again. He understands that everyone acts weird at Disney including riding It’s a Small World more than once. This reminds me of the reason we go to Disney year after year as a family. We want all the ages to believe in “Disney Magic” where dreams really do come true. A trip to Magic Kingdom would not be complete at any age without a ride on It’s A Small World with my dad. It is even more magically now that my son rides along.
The students turn and talk to each other about a place that matters to them. The students write about a place that matters that is not the playground, not Disney World, not It’s a Small World. They write about lots of different places:
-big comfy chair in my livingroom
Books That Support A Place That Matters To You:
-Shortcut by Donald Crews
-Bigmama by Donald Crews
-The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (neighborhood)
-Because of Winn Dixie (home and church, one day)
-Make Way for Ducklings (road)
Ralph Fletcher writes on his website that we should not give story starters (I absolutely agree!). Instead we support our students sometimes by thinking about topics (not all the time). He supports the idea of a special place or a place that matters by generating these places with students: special room, attic nook, inside of a tree, scary closet. He encourages the writer to start by quickly sketching a map of a house full of memories. He further supports the writer by marking those rooms where something important happened to you. Where are your places that matter to you?
Filed under: Lucy Calkins, Memoir Mondays, Ralph Fletcher, writing | 7 Comments »