Words aren't enough

I have a boy in my class who hates to write.  He doesn't hate it because it is difficult for him, he is very adept writer, he just doesn't like it.  Over the course of the last few years, he has picked up english incredibly fast.  He is a voracious reader (in english, not so much in his mother tongue) and he will talk your ear off if you let him (I do).  Yet, when you ask him to write his thoughts down, he gives you this wonderful look that says, why?  He has developed these amazing strategies over the last couple of years to limit the amount of writing he does.  He takes the whole sentence and cuts out certain words that would enhance the meaning until he is left with a sentence that only makes sense to him (and increasingly, me).  The problem is this; he is deep, and when I read his work, I am left trying to guess and infer the meanings, and it is like a puzzle.  And you know what, I love it.  It is fun, it is engaging, and it makes you think deeply about not only the answer, but the question.  At the end of the day, isn't that a definition of great writing?

The other day, we started our week with our weekly task of defining culture and guessing the central idea.  He hit a new height, a level of vagueness, thoughtfulness and depth that I have never seen before.  His definition of culture was one word, written neatly in the middle of a piece of paper and stuck to the wall:


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Basho"][/caption]

I love how we even included a full-stop!  He continually challenges my conception of what constitutes good writing in the elementary years.


  1. Another awesome post! Thanks, Craig. I love the simplicity of his definition... us! But also the way you trust your kids to think and express their learning. I like the idea of constantly having them redefine culture as the unit unfolds.

  2. DwyerTeacher24.4.12

    Thanks Ed. The continual re-definition fits into the shape of the narrative of the unit (with the nested circles).


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Flotsam and exploring imaginative questions through literacy

George Polya and Mathematical Problem Solving

The Shape of a Unit.