This afternoon I was in a fourth grade room. Trying to break the tension of getting ready for ISTEP only to have it put off for another day since we had a two hour delay today, we were starting to brainstorm ideas for writing “I Remember” poems. We numbered our papers 1-10, and began by writing our earliest memory at #1 and then a recent memory at #10. I shared a few mentor sentences…a memory of my own, and a boring example and an interesting example written by students. Then we started filling in the other numbers with things we remember in between. It seemed as if they were speedwriters. Before I even had written five things on my list, I started hearing stirrings that told me a lot of people had already finished. I said a few words about reading your writing and looking for places to use strong verbs and describing words. It was plain nobody was feeling it today, so I asked everyone to put stars by their two favorite memories. Then I told them when called on, they could share the most favorite. We started sharing, and I was somewhat disappointed, though not that surprised, with the way everyone had been in such a rush, to hear ideas like “I remember when I got my first bike.” Then when I was ready to give up, a boy shared this gem- “I remember when I first learned to walk, I believed I could walk to the rainbow.” Wow. We started talking about the big dreams and the confidence we had in dreams coming true when we were small. And how now we had some inspiration to write about our own unique memories and make them come alive in our writing.