Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thanksgiving & Writing Holiday Poetry

As teachers, we must always remember not to assume anything about our students' vacations. Their experiences will vary greatly depending on religion, income, traditions, family structure, and at the high school level, many of our students work during weekends and holiday events like "Black Friday." If we ask them to use a holiday as inspiration for writing, it is important to think about how we word those prompts. We must make it safe not to have the common or "traditional" experience. With a holiday as controversial as Thanksgiving, we must make it safe for students to express a variety of feelings about the holiday itself, issues with family dynamics or lost loved ones, and other age-related topics ranging from sitting at the kids' table to worrying about the last round of college applications. Of course, in true workshop method, the best way to model sharing in a safe atmosphere is to write with your kids. This year, I decided to focus on how I felt about Thanksgiving at different points in my life. I would adapt this a bit for a student writing prompt, or - better yet - I would ask them for ideas.

Here's my poem inspired by Thanksgiving: