Details, details, details!

What makes you different from me? Or anyone else? What makes your room, your likes and dislikes, or your personality unique? It’s the details!
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German-born architect who completed most of his important 21st century work in America, was famous for saying, “God is in the details.” Whether one believes in God or not, what he’s saying is that we are all unique creations down to every little cell. No two are alike. Even more important, your experience is different from mine. My details are different from your details. That’s a wonderful thing because it gives us all something special to say about ourselves and the world around us.
With that in mind, we will begin a two-week unit on descriptive writing on Oct. 13, the day we return from a three-day weekend following exam week. While the structure of the essay is exactly the same as the expository essay, we’ll be looking for more and better ways to describe people, places, things, and ideas in more detail. We’ll be stretching our vocabularies and creativity (while still focusing on the essentials, such as the structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation – those are ALWAYS important!)
We will spend Oct. 21st and 22nd in the computer lab, typing our essays into the Glencoe online essay grader, which provides the students with extra feedback in addition to mine.
If any parents ever want to know what we’re up to in class, I invite your e-mails, calls, or visits. Most of the kids tell me we have some fun in English, and along the way we’re learning to be better writers, better communicators, and, hopefully, better people who are responsible, accountable, and respectful of others!
Now, let’s dig into the details and get descriptive!!!

It’s a Beautiful Day

What is your idea of a beautiful day?

What would you do?

Where would you go?

Who would you join you?

Our seventh-grade writers spent the past week organizing their thoughts, writing rough drafts and typing in final drafts on their idea of a beautiful day. One of the best things about this assignments is that I’ve been blessed to read 140 different sets of ideas, each one unique and special in its own way. The more I read, the more I learn about my students and what’s important to them.

Most of them want to travel to amazing places or do grandiose things, but some of them just enjoy simple pleasures and the idea of being able to spend an entire day pursuing those activies. So many of them want to enjoy those places and activities with family and friends.

One student wrote that his day would be perfect if he could get his mother and father back together again. One wrote that all he wanted was to spend time with his father who died when the writer was still a baby. Many wrote about spending one-on-one time with a special grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle. One girl wrote about how silly she and her grandma get when they have their girl time together. Some kids write about their one-on-one experiences with someone who takes them hunting or fishing or plays catch with them.

Not all of my students are excellent writers and some of them will never be simply because we all have different talents, but I’d say 50 percent of them are working very hard on their writing and another 25 percent are learning to work harder and better.

So many of them are sharing their ideas, thoughts, values, and desires in their writing, and I’m a big believe that when students write about topics that are more important to them they are more likely to enjoy the process and invest in it.

I am keeping all of their work this year to build writing portfolios for all my students. That will give them a chance to look back and see how far they’ve come as writers this year. However, if a parent or grandparents wants to see an essay, I’d be happy to make that possible.

Students, thanks for letting me teach you about writing and life! Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, thanks for letting me teach your precious treasures.