I'll be honest and tell you that I was having a hard time thinking about what I wanted to write about today. My mind has wandered from topics like the stress relief that comes from getting my hair colored to posting about a newer book by Kevin Henkes, Penny and Her Song (which Cathy posted about here) to the frustration I am having raising a soon to be teenager. But I didn't feel passionate enough or want to think through my ideas further with these topics. So, I am not posting about these.
I really just wanted to post something fast and be done. And then I realized how kids have days where they feel the same. They are distracted by something happening in their lives, by an event that is imminent, or they just don't feel it for the day. I noticed this happening to one of my own students today. This student has made 2 How-To-Books (how to draw a tree and how to draw something else but I can't remember right now) and was challenging himself use a mentor (If you were a Penguin) that we have been studying to help him write about something he knows about and loves: his Cat. He shared his idea with me last week and had two pages written but today was stuck with what he wanted to say next. I was meeting with 3 other writers so we didn't talk. I did notice he went back to his old books and added background and then added detailed pictures to the ideas he started in his "If you were a cat book." He didn't write words today. He made about decisions for his pictures and created a beautiful scene for his page "If you were a cat, you could sit outside and feel the breeze." I've tried to teach my students to honor their pictures and be thoughtful with how they create them to match their text. He did just that today. Other observers might think he just colored but I know that he was thinking and writing.
I asked him to share what he had been working on and the other students immediately wanted to give him feedback about his illustrations. Someone asked about what he was thinking he might write next and he said he didn't know. So, we all turned into a cat for a moment helped him think. He called on some students to hear what they could do if they were a cat. He began to smile. "My cat does that!" And I know he would be filled with some ideas for tomorrow. Hopefully, so will I.