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October Message from Anjali

Word Power in the Afternoons

When children start to read, they begin to discover the power of words. As a child mouths the words in a story, he learns that words can evoke feelings, or paint a picture for his imagination. When a teacher reinforces the idea that words are powerful and evocative tools, she may help a child discover their own power to evoke feelings or paint images through words. 
 
While a teacher may provide instruction for an assignment, it is the child who chooses (ideally) its final form. The child may play around deliberately with words in order to conjure up extraordinary feelings and imaginings. The results can be enchanting.
 
Here are a couple of examples from one assignment:
 
Pink 
Have you heard of the color pink
I think pink rhymes with ink and link and wink I think?
It is lightish
It is brightish
It’s delightish
--wwritten by a PIC first grader
 
Pink
… Pink is the candy of my life
Pink is the color that is safe and alive
Pink is the sound of a tomato growing
Pink is the feeling of puppy’s fun
Pink is the color of peach marmalade on toast
Pink is the sound of a canoe padding through shallow water
--extracted from a poem by a PIC second grader 
 
These the children were asked to write about how a color smelled, what it felt like, and how it sounded. Soon, a child may recognize that general terms are just too vague, discovering that precise vocabulary can tell an exciting story, like the following, written by first graders.
 
Chicken
I had a chicken some ten years ago. The chicken laid 12,000 eggs. That chicken was a weird chicken. The chicken bounced on his skull and died.
 
Lightning
Lightning so bright
In the dark, dark night
Lightning slashes
And dashes
There, the night in a big fight.
 
The teacher typed, printed, laminated, and then displayed a collection of the children’s poems for an ASC talent gala. That act helped children realize that their words could travel beyond the paper on the desk, and into the hearts of friends and strangers.