There's something magical about formulating big ideas in small spaces.
This morning my AP Literature students participated in a Socratic Seminar about The Stranger by Albert Camus and let me tell you that the most illuminating observations continuously poured forth from 12th graders.
I paused the seminar at one point in order to discuss times in our own lives when we have had trouble controlling our impulses as well as articulating why. I shared the story of how in 3rd grade, while waiting in line for chocolate milk, I succumbed to my urge to yank the braid of the girl standing in front of me. Hard.
Students then shared their stories and here are a few of my favorites:
Brandon recalled being on the balcony of his apartment around the age of 6 or so and his inexplicable decision to eat a rock.
Angelina described the time she put a ladybug in a spider's web when she was 4 or 5. The spider attacked immediately. Angelina still has guilt.
Jonathan once dangled a book outside of the window of his moving car and when his father noticed, he dropped it on the road, pages whirling.
The class proceeded to have a rich discussion about whether or not such impulses help to define our humanity. Theirs is a class I won't soon forget.
Tomas demanded that she not try to hide her tears.
He told her that she was providing a "beautiful teaching moment" and that ALL the people in the room needed to never hide their tears. "Cry or die," he said.
That's my new bumper sticker.
Afterward, my student read her poem aloud and it was a breathtaking read. Every student applauded--chills. Still.
This is such an interesting mix of kids. Many are seniors who are enrolled in creative writing class but there are a handful of underclassmen as well. I love watching them interact. There are surprising and delightful friendships forming. As club began to wrap up, Hannah came and sat next to me.
She began to share how much writing means to her.
How she loves the entire process--from idea to print. She also shared how writing serves as such a great way to release the stress from being a freshman. For at least 2-3 minutes we sat in silence, or perhaps it was really reverence, with silly grins on our faces in appreciation of writing.
By the way, the Wilde quote they have decided to use on their club shirts is, "A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave." I love that they were drawn to this--that they understand on some level how choosing to write is also, at times, an artistic act of subversion whether blatant, nuanced or simply because it's so misunderstood by the population at large.
Outside of my room, students hung their posters and put the finishing touches on a submissions center for their literary arts magazine, IMPRINT.
They accidentally forgot the letter P in the IMPRINT sign--so I'll have to come up with a joke about that before we fix it.