Tomorrow is my last day teaching creative writing. Despite my despairing in the last couple of weeks, I will miss my class (even those I might not recognize if they actually show up in the morning). I got a terrific idea early in the term from the book poemcrazy, to help realize the power & joy of words - cutting interesting words from magazines, taping them to tickets then attaching them to objects, a kind of symbolic 'admittance' to interesting ideas and viewpoints via new vocabulary. I put them on the white board ("talking"), tissue box ("healthy"), a cup of pens & pencils for borrowing ("vanquished"), the files where students keep their work ("hatched"), and a variety on the desks & chairs. It was enlightening watching and listening to everyone trying to pick just the right words to sit by. They got to choose some to keep, too. Most chose at least 5 to put on their composition books; one taped "relief" to his lighter.
We don't talk about them much anymore, but I notice that most of the kids still look and choose a different word each day. As a farewell that's not too sappy and embarrassing (and really, merely saying the word "farewell" would be considered sappy and embarrassing to teenagers), I chose three words for each student and wrapped them in a little note. Just like the original project, this act was remarkably interesting. I spent an hour cutting out and taping more words this afternoon then went through my roster, thinking about each kid. At the risk of sounding pathetically New Age, I truly felt inspired with my choices. No, I didn't cut out anything like "slacker," "irresponsible," or "grating on my last frickin' nerve." For those gentlemen who were disinclined to attend class or turn in work, I was drawn to words like "choose," "reinvent," and "act." Crossing my fingers for that lightbulb to flicker sooner than later for them.
So, what are your words?
Bonus question of the Day: What is another word for "word"??