It Made Her Cry

This week I read from the book Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (2003 Newbery Honor Book) with fourth graders. It is the story of Hollis, who is a foster child, who never stays long and always runs away from her foster homes.

Then we brainstormed a list of ideas that we might write about. One idea was to write about a person who is very close, to describe them as Hollis described Steven, the boy who made her see what it might be like to have a brother.

After writing, we shared by reading in front of the class. One girl wrote about her cousin. She was overcome with emotion as she read about how much she means to her, how she is like the sister she doesn’t have (she is an only child). It made her cry, but she kept going, kept reading, because it was so important to her to share her writing, to express how she loves her cousin. When she went back to her seat, some of the other kids gathered around her, reaching out and putting hands on her shoulders.

That is the power of story. One of the reasons I teach is to help my students realize everyone has a story and sharing our stories is a powerful experience.

 

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13 Responses to It Made Her Cry

  1. shrontk says:

    Wow! How powerful! You must have created a very safe environment for your students! I could feel the empathy they had for the reader. Great job!

  2. Beautiful. I remember crying in front of students reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Several of them started crying too, and it was a powerful way to connect and be open about our emotions. Thank you for giving your student that chance.

  3. elsie says:

    Sweet kids to reach out to this girl. What power a story has!

  4. Lisa C says:

    Beautiful! She’ll never forget how writing made her feel that day.

  5. ritakenefic says:

    When reading or writing makes you laugh or cry, you know it has power. This is a beautiful tribute to that little girl and to you, as her teacher.

  6. mmatticek says:

    What a beautiful story to share. I can only imagine how your student must of felt after writing such a wonderful piece and being able to share it with her peers.

  7. Tim Gels says:

    To be able to share that experience with fourth graders is an amazing thing. Your classroom community must be strong and vibrant to foster that sort of connection and openness. Thank you for sharing this slice!

  8. arjeha says:

    The power of the written word.

  9. MNabors says:

    I absolutely love this glimpse into the precious community you have created with your 4th graders! As a fellow 4th grade teacher, amazing idea for a follow up write after this book! Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Leigh Anne says:

    Yes, the power of story! Yours, mine, theirs…everyone has one.

  11. This is all wonderful – your writing, your student’s writing, your students’ reactions, and yes, the power of a story. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

  12. Morgan says:

    I’ve never read that story, but your post makes me want to!

  13. Ramona says:

    Oh, I love that book. And now I’m pulling it off the shelf to pay attention to how Hollis described Steven. What a powerful example of student sharing and the strength of the learning community you’ve created.

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