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Friday, April 13, 2007

Through the Wind and Rain…The Sun Shines

Excerpts from the book entitled Through the Wind and Rain…The Sun Shines written by Joy Bittle’s first grade students at Raymond L. Young, after the tornado killed 8 high school students at Enterprise High School.

“I am sorry a tornado killed people in the high school. I know you are sad, too. And also I am glad nobody else got killed. I am very sorry.” Erika Wilson

“I hope you fill better and I hope you have a good time at your new school. I am sorry that your old school got torn down by a tornado. Sorry.” Love, Riley

Often when tragedy occurs, it is easy to believe that it does not affect children like it does adults. Take the Enterprise High School disaster, for example. Children hear adults talking, view it online, get the facts from radio, or catch the news on television. It is almost impossible for a child to escape this type of news.

In education, teachers can use such events as an opportunity for children to express their feelings, do a kind deed, and learn to appreciate the gifts they have each day. It is an opportunity to sharpen the writing skills of even the youngest authors, too.

How can teachers orchestrate such a feat? First, allow students to talk openly about the event. Have them think about what they would say if they could see the victims’ families or the people involved. Give students the freedom to put those thoughts on paper and concentrate on what they want to say, not the spelling or punctuation. Those tasks will soon follow. To begin polishing the writing, have students first proof their own work, assign student partners to look for errors, and lastly have students share their writing with the teacher. Of course, the artwork is like icing on the cake. It brings the writing to life.

If you think back to your own days in school, the memories are probably of activities such as this, creating a keepsake that made you a better writer, but also that made you feel like a better person. These children are learning that writing is a powerful tool!

I know the Enterprise High School faculty, staff, and students will appreciate the efforts of this talented group. Great idea, Mrs. Bittle and first grade children!


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