Friday, November 14, 2014

Story Starters

It is a well-known fact that I am a dreamer.  I'm a hopefully ever after believer.  And I'm a pack rat.  I keep stuff.  Some of it is for nostalgia's sake.  Some of it is stuff that I haven't decided if I want it or don't need it any longer.  Some of it is still around because I just haven't gotten rid of it yet.  So I wasn't surprised to see this list in an old notebook of mine.  

In fact, when I started my blog last month, I actually wondered if I still had it.  

Yep.  I do.  
Story Starters
I used this list with my former students.  That dates these story starter ideas back to the mid 90s.  (See. I told you I was a pack rat!)  I used these both in my classroom and when I tutored during the summers.  

I loved teaching.  I loved being in the classroom and fostering young learners to think, to write and to dream.  Some of my favorite stories and memories are from my teaching days.  Like when my 4th grade girls were assigned this story starter:

What if all the 4th grade girls lived in one apartment with Mrs. Jameson...

And another memory of my students writing, this time during a snow flurry that interrupted us as we read Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter.  We dropped everything, bundled up, took notebooks and pencils outside and journaled about winter.

And a fun memory of my combined 2nd/3rd grade class sitting on the grass outside our classroom learning the words to Fifty Nifty United States which was being sung by one of my favorite parents of one of my students (I can have favorite parents. Right?)

And the memory of proudly listening to my 2nd graders complete a Social Studies assignment.  They had worked in small groups to create their own country complete with official name, flower, tree, flag, laws and motto and were asked to present the information to the principal.   

And the memory seeing a student find success after being discouraged.  I had a small classroom and ran out of space on my walls, so I used the ceiling to make a word wall.  One of my students was struggling to spell a word.  He was about to give up, but while wrinkling his brow, he looked up and his eyes softened.  The word he needed was right above him.  

And memories one of the most successful curriculum projects I ever created, called The Jameson Co., that still makes me smile.  We'd finished the Math textbook but had a few weeks left of school to get through.  I designed the project around a budgeting lesson.  The project made my last class of 4th graders realize what an important tool a budget was.  They learned valuable life skills on paper, skills that I hope they continue to use today as adults.  
The Jameson Co. 
I keep in touch with several of my students and have watched them grow up, get married and have their own babies.  In fact one of my favorite students (I can have favorite students. Right?) had her first child last week.  Seeing that new baby, and remembering all the memories I have of that baby's mother, filled my heart and my soul with the most incredible feeling.  

I am thrilled to see how much my students have grown.  I know that I am blessed to still be a part of their lives.  To be able to watch them start their own stories, start their professional careers and start their own families.  What a beautiful treat it is to see them grow.  

xo, Cat

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