When writing unlocks the doors

Today was a fantastic day of learning as we had some live sessions for IREL and had a chance to have some great conversations with educators. We have been talking about how race impacts us this week spending time working on the internal racial understandings. Today as part of this work Tricia Ebarvia and Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul took us through a series of mentor texts written by various BIPOC authors. When studying mentor texts we looked at the style in which the author writes, the content of the piece and then were given time to craft our own writing based on the ideas that came to use. This is a practice that I have used in class a lot. Looking at different pieces of writing, short stories, picture books and utilizing these mentors to assist our writing. Today thought a different thought came to mind as I wrote.

I cite Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s work often. I am a true believer in the idea of students needing to see themselves and others in the books they read, that books serve as Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors. Mirror reflecting themselves, Windows as a chance to see into the lives of others and Sliding Glass Doors inviting the reader in. This last year we talked about it a lot in class, we used this language as we looked at different stories. Students had some struggles differentiating what was really different for them between Windows and Sliding Glass Doors. Today as I wrote and occasionally struggled to write I think I came across something that will help my students as it certainly helped me.

The opportunity to read a piece was excellent, it gave me that window. Writing my own text alongside the mentor text however took me into the story. The writing was the key to open a door that I could step through. While I couldn’t connect to these stories as lived experiences I could connect to elements. Tricia named this for us as learners and instructed us to look at phrases when we couldn’t connect. To look for that spark.

I am excited to continue to build on this work. I love that today I walked away with what I feel are both usable tools and also new understandings of established practices in my classroom.

Day 3 learning and reflections from IREL20 🙂

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