I never think my students are listening. I assume that three quarters of what I say gets washed away in less than five minutes time into some vortex of inattention/distraction/brain-clutter and other such things. It becomes all the more impressive then, when well past the point in which I shared some tidbit of information, it comes flying back at me most unexpectedly and often from the least likely sources. It tends to catch me off guard a bit actually.
I had two such instances last week, and both in regards to my writing territories, something I spent maybe twenty minutes sharing with my students more than a week and a half ago. I have heard that we tend to remember things more readily in story form, so maybe that’s one reason for it. Another possibility may just be that opportunities for teachers to share real-life narratives of themselves has become so rare that it peaked their interest.
The first time it came up was when students were doing a quick write modeled after Cynthia Rylant’s “When I was young at the ocean” A student mentioned that I could write my poem about the “helicopter” bush I used to play in when I was little. So I did. And I thanked her for reminding me of one of the special childhood places that I had written in my writing territories.
I thought that was an anomaly, and it wouldn’t ever happen again.
But just yesterday, when students were writing about a superpower that they wished they could have, and what they would do with it if they actually had it, it happened again. I was busily writing the whole time myself, trying to model for students the process of continuous writing. After students shared with one another what they had come up with, one student asked what I had been writing about. I encouraged them to guess. After a few guesses, most having to do with intelligence or strength, one boy guessed that I would want to go back in time and have super speed, so I could finally beat my cousins in our bike races around the block. It made me smile when he said that. Another writing territory reference and with a different class this time.
I guess I will have to rework some of my earlier theories, especially if this comes up again in a month or two.