Lunch with students at Waynesville Middle School. I told them about a story I’d heard on the radio driving down – about the schools in New York City where they were cancelling recess for elementary kids, not temporarily but permanently, as a way to help kids prepare for proficiency tests. The kids had lots of opinions – how much recess meant to them in elementary, how many thought they still needed recess once a day to run around, One wizened sixth grader, her brow crossed with a pleading, perplexed look said, “I had recess and I turned out okay.”
A message to legislative armchair curriculum directors.
Another girl told me the story of how she had moved away from another community and then went back in the summer and went looking for her best friend who had been living with her grandmother. But when she went to the door she found out that her friend’s mom had taken her friend away and no one would tell her where, her eyes broadcasting pain. When you listen to kids’ stories of their utter powerlessness against the whims of recess cancelling, moving around grown-ups, is it any wonder they get angry?
During the assembly one girl asked me a great question when I was coming down hard on the need to put precise details in our writing: “But don’t you kind of want to leave things open to the reader’s imagination?” We talked about how specific the writer needs to be in her descriptions in order to kick start the readers imagination. Good discussion.
I loved my visit to Waynesville because I actually got to talk to kids, which I don’t always get to do. Many thanks to all the teachers who prepared the kids and brought in great food. Special thanks to Kathy Hale for all her hard work.