Writing is Like… Inspiration from a Third Grade Classroom

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May 18, 2011 by jrwatson5

There’s a point when all WITS teacher learn to believe in magic. It usually happens when you’re not expecting it—you’re shuffling lessons around TAKS testing, tending to paper cuts and fire drills, repeating “Five more minutes, just five more minutes of quiet writing time, and then we’ll share…”—then you happen upon a moment of stillness and see it: an entire room full of young minds scribbling as quickly as they can. They are writing and loving to write. Moments like these are perfect, infinite, and astonishing.

This school year, I was blessed with one third-grade class that was magical from the start. On my first day, one student waved me over. “Ms. Becca,” she said, “I’m a poet!” The boy next to her leaned in and earnestly confided, “Me too. I feel it in my soul.”

The passion for writing spread wildly throughout my visits. If any students in that room were doubtful, it wasn’t long before they were infected with the “Poetry-in-the-Soul” virus, too. Writing prompts were met with hushed anticipation and riotous cheers. Sharing time took on the extravagance of Grammy performances or Nobel Prize speeches. Students even asked for extra WITS homework. “I was working on a story last night,” they’d tell me. “You have to read it.”

To my utter disappointment, my time with this magic classroom is nearing its end. I find myself thinking If only I could bottle the energy in the room! and What is it that makes an entire class love writing so much? I had no idea, so I thought I’d ask the experts themselves. And so, I posed the question: “Why do you love to write? What is writing like to you?” The students answered (as any illustrious writer might do) in similes and metaphors. I’ve shared a few of my favorites below.

Thoughts On Writing
(by some of my favorite third-grade creative geniuses in Houston, Texas)

“Writing is like swimming in an ocean of words. It is a fun way to express your feelings. There are so many things to write about.” –Caleb

“Writing is like you’re using vision inside your head.” –Trenton

“Writing is like a rainbow after a storm. When I get sad, I write. It flows with nice music.” –Braelon

“Writing is like your head is exploding. It’s like it’s raining money. It’s like thunder. It’s like flying in space.” –Demarcus

“Writing is like living inside of a book.” –Jaya

“Writing is like floating in a pit of clouds. Writing is like flying with birds.” –Jeremiah

“Writing is like an ocean tide that never ends.” – Jemarcus

“Writing is like me on a Saturday morning, when I am just relaxing in my bed on the laptop computer. When I type the first word, my head clears all my troubles.” –Rhemi

“Writing is like eating Pay Days. They have peanuts that make me nutty, and my nuttiness drags along the paper when I write.” –Jazmine

“Writing is like water—it flows from my head to my hand and onto my paper. Just my pencil, my paper, and me.” –Jade

“Writing is like making a life out of words. Use your imagination to do the work. Use your words to feel (snap snap).” –Keshau [Note: the “snap snap” is Keshau mimicking the applause of Beat poets.]

“Writing is like a clock flowing through a mind with good sounds. Tick tock…” –Venerick

“Writing is like a feather that falls from above. It is a beautiful thing—to hear the words, to touch the paper. It is as beautiful as the sunset.” –Shelbi

“Writing is like an eruption of imagination. Like daydreaming on paper. With writing, you have to be creative.” –Caleb

“Writing is like you are flowing. When you write with your hand, it is just like your hand flows with the pencil.” –Kamille

“Writing is like a powerful storm that blows you away with words.” –Tianna

By Rebecca Wadlinger, Writers in the Schools

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Writers in the Schools (WITS)


Writers in the Schools (WITS) is the #1 arts education organization in Texas. With 80 writers and educators on staff, WITS reaches over 23,000 students a year in classrooms, community centers, museums, parks, and hospitals.

The glory of WITS is best expressed by the students--in their own words -- so this blog features essays, stories, and poems that were created by K-12 students in our program. All material (c) Writers in the Schools 2007-2013. If you wish to republish this work, please credit both the organization and the author and link back to this site. This material may not be used in commercial ventures of any kind.

Supporting WITS will help bring the pleasure and power of reading and writing to more Houston children helping to improve writing skills, build confidence, raise test scores, and enhance creativity.

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