Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Making the Writing Real

As my students and I finish The Freedom Writer's Diary, we've written letters to one of the Freedom Writers whom we hope (God? Are you there? It's me, Ms. Duckworth....) can come visit us. Some barriers still stand in the way of this happening but I find myself determined to do all I can, including considering nutty things like paying $300 myself for a copy of the books for each kid if that's what it takes. I've approached folks for funding and am hoping the city will see the importance of an event like this too. I will be persistent.

While there were a number of "grammar and style" aspects of the kids' letters to work on (at least in some cases), I was impressed especially by some of what the kids shared with our Freedom Writer. They took to the spirit of what I'm tryin to do. They wrote about relating to her struggles, making mistakes (of course, that's why they're here at the Detention Center), and respecting her strength to overcome it all. I'd love for them to be able to tell her that themselves. I don't want this to fall apart as the last pieces fall into place. Two students in particular stand out because of the difficulties they have with writing (one of whom I suspect is dyslexic); despite this, they wrote with detail about the book and their lives. It's amazing the difference that a "real" audience makes. So many writing theorists know this, and yet it seems to happen in so few writing classrooms. I sure don't recall it as a student at all.

And so, I keep making phone calls and writing emails am willing to come in for her visit on a day off (Veteran's Day) if that's what it takes. I want to deliver for them and see what the results may be.

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