Students were asked to think today. I know, I know what you are thinking. Aren't they asked to think every day? Absolutely. But today was a little different. Today I pointed out to them that they were thinking, and that seemed to blow their mind. One student even said, "Wait, you want me to think?" This made me laugh. The students were busy observing ordinary things in the classroom. They spent three or four minutes writing these observations down in their writer's notebook. Students noticed all sorts of unique things about the room: the Coca Cola signs, the Time Out sign, other students, and even their teacher. Then after a few minutes of writing I asked them to stop and to have a thought about what they observed. They were asked to push themselves to THINK! They were writing things like, "That makes me think that every child needs time to take a break, " or "I realize that the old Coke bottles were so much cooler than today's bottles."
This exercise is getting students prepared for writing personal essays. This type of writing is a long way from just telling stories about their lives, but what I was most impressed with was how no one complained about doing the work. They loved it! Tonight for homework, students have been asked to observe their every day lives at home. Perhaps they will observe how you eat dinner, or their football practice, or maybe the way their sister plays video games. Whatever the case, they will observe for a few minutes and then push themselves to have a thought or two about these observations. I encourage you to ask them about their thinking. Push them to write more, to think more, to explain more fully.
YES, I want you to think!