This summer, our students voted to read the novel "Harbor Me" by Jacqueline Woodson. The book dealt with a small group of fifth graders who got the chance to get together to talk once a week, in a classroom with no teachers or adults present. The room, which became known as the ARTT (A Room To Talk) room, became a refuge for the students as they dealt with a number of family situations, identity issues, and the joys and sorrows of making and keeping friends.
One of the themes of the book was the importance of being able to share your story(ies). The ARTT kids make a promise to each other that they will reunite in 20 years and share their life stories, just like they did in the novel. For our summer reading assignment, students were asked to write this chapter as they would like to see it. This assignment, "The 20-Year Promise," will be revised and "published" as the first narrative writing piece for the students this year. During the upcoming week, we will be sharing, revising, editing, and tightening up these stories. Look for some excerpts to appear on this blog in the coming weeks!