I am very often loud. I am a rather high energy individual and teacher. I have fun, I get excited about ideas and I go off track... a lot. Today was not an exception. We were discussing the poem Complainers by Rudy Francisco and different lines that were sticking out. Earlier as the poem finished a student clapped, students that normally don't share started talking about the lines, the power of this poem, of these words was evident. And then it happened. As I sat there taking a moment in the silence appreciating the pause in conversation the idea for their final project of the year just came to me. This post isn't about that project so I will share that another day. Today we talk about silence.
This morning I was listening to Tom Newkirk talking with teens about their writing on Heinemann's podcast. A comment from a student stuck out to me, "My best ideas come when I am just sitting alone or bored" There is some kind of clarity found in the silence.
My students start every class with silent individual choice reading time. Don't worry the occasional chuckle or excited share with a classmate is more than acceptable, even encourage, but for the most part we are silent, we take in those moments where the words just grab us.
I walked into my room at lunch today, the lights in the room were turned down and kids were spread out around the room silently reading, I asked them what they were doing, some replied reading book club selections but one just ignored me and kept reading. I asked, "started Grenade?" and all that was received back was an "ummhmm" and back we all went to the silence.
I finished Randy Ribay's After the Shot Drops tonight. I am a slow reader and have been savouring this one. I just finished helping coach basketball this year and thought what a great title to finish up the season with. I want to read it again. I love the characters, I have become a big fan of these books written in the perspectives of different characters and I think it is so important to expose my students to books that show the whole world not just theirs. The basketball elements of this story will draw them in. The characters will keep them.
Words have the power to inspire us, to captivate us and to help us sit in the silence and just appreciate them.