Any writer will tell you that the most important action an aspiring writer can take is to write. To become a better writer, one must write as often as possible. Knowing this, I try to incorporate writing into every possible activity -- even math! I also try to avoid the trap of only assigning formal, "school-y" writing. Of course formal writing is an important part of our curriculum; however, informal writing is just as important. Thus, we have "free writing."
Free writing is writing that is not graded, not limited, and not judged. To push the students creatively I will usually give a broad topic, such as, "Write about something round," or "Write about 'cold,'" etc. Then they write for a set period of time, during which they are not allowed to be "done." They must keep going. It is a practice of proliferation. The more we write, the easier it becomes to write. The more we write, the more we discover our voice. The more we write, the freer we feel to experiment. Sometimes we share this free writing, sometimes we don't.
Today's free writing topic was "hard." "Write about 'hard,'" I told them. Little did I know this would become one more opportunity for me to marvel at these little intellectuals. I decided today would be a good day to share our writing, and their various interpretations of the theme left me awe-struck. I just have to share these with you! Below I will transcribe 3 very unique takes on the topic "hard."
Hard by Chava Rivka
It all started when Raizy went on a class hike. She was feeling really exhausted. Eventually, she fell behind. The person ahead of her looked backwards at her, then continued walking. All of a sudden, Raizy fell to the ground, HARD. She felt everything go black, and could not bear the pain anymore. She felt ready to move on.
As she was rushed to the hospital, images of the past she hadn't known flashed through her brain. A carriage was rolling down the street with a family of people. Then, all of a sudden, it came. A carriage was coming at full speed towards their carriage. And everyone saw the same thing. They were going to crash. One of the babies survived. Her name was Surale. She grew up with a foster family, and they called her Raizy. Raizy had never known about all of that until the day she fell.
A Hard Heart by Iris Epstein
Have you ever heard the expression "a hard heart?" It means that someone is mean, cruel, stubborn, or tough. Do you know about someone famous who had a hard heart? That's right It was Pharaoh! Pharaoh had a hard heart! He was very stubborn. He would not let the Jewish people go! Okay, eventually he did because he was afraid he would die. But he did chase after them. Eventually they got away and he died. The Jewish people were safe on the other side, Pharaoh drowned . It is kind of sad and kind of happy for Jewish people or else they would still be slaves to the Egyptians. Do not be like Pharaoh and have a hard heart. Have a soft, understanding, and kind heart.
Everything is Hard by Sophie Schaffer
Hard upon a time, everything was hard in third grade. In my math test I got an F for fail! Our teacher is soooo strict! You don't even get RECESS! All we do all day is math, spelling, writing, lunch, and over again. You can't breathe, go to the bathroom, nor the worst of all -- no smiling and laughing! And the time we go home is our bedtime at 8:00. We do have a class pet, but while every other class in the school gets a bunny, we get a hedgehog. We have ten hundred pages of homework every night. In class we have five tests and if you think that's bad, think about this: we have that for every subject. If we get one question wrong we get detention. We don't have any free time. In conclusion: I can't wait until we are in 4th grade. What did you just say young lady?? Detention for the rest of the year!
If you walked by the 3rd grade classroom today between 9:30 and 10:30, you may have been taken aback. Perhaps you heard experimental drumming or falsetto singing. Perhaps you saw a student dumping a cup of shredded paper on another student while a teacher stood filming the action. Maybe you saw money being exchanged for jewelry and other goods. Whatever you saw, whatever you heard, it looked like fun. It was market day!
Market day is where our growing knowledge of economics comes to life! The students have prepared for this day by creating our class currency, earning their weekly salary, creating business proposals to sell goods or services, and advertising for their businesses using posters, invitations, and word-of-mouth. Market day takes place on the first Friday of every month. More details about the creation of our mini-economy can be found here.
Let's take a look at the fun!
Here are some pictures of the students shopping at the various booths:
Checking out required math, writing, and patience!
The student-run small businesses were by far the most exciting aspect of the market. Hover over each picture to read about their businesses!
While the fun part is over, we are not yet done with today's market experience. The buyers and sellers will get a chance to reflect on our first market. They will think about ways to attract more customers to their businesses, and give me feedback about what items they would like to see more of at the booths. We also need lots of time to balance our accounts to make sure everyone kept track of how much they spent and earned. So far, everyone has put some money aside to save for the end of the year SUPER-market! Keep your eye out for items you may be able to donate to that or any other monthly market.
Little people, big minds.