Sometimes I envy elementary teachers.
The little kid ah ha moment is so much easier to see.
Then I remember I would have to deal with little kids.
So, there's that.
Anyway, those moments do happen with teenagers.
Once in a great while, I even get to see it happen.
That happened the other day.
I was working with a kid on her character assignment.
Students have to analyze the novel they are reading for a specific element.
Then they have to analyze the novel they are writing to improve that element.
This particular child is especially literal.
I often find I can see her brain clicking along.
Anytime she encounters a stumbling block, she comes to a screeching halt and flails about helplessly.
She has such a sweet and positive disposition that she handles herself well.
Subsequently, it can be amusing to observe her hapless flailing, though intervention is usually in order.
I sat down with her and asked her what was up.
Her response was that she did not understand all the questions.
"Ok, which ones?" I asked.
She pointed to a question that read: "What ideas does the book give you for revising your novel?"
"So, what are revising in your novel right now?"
"My characters," she responded, flipping the page over to point to the revision questions.
There was a pause.
And then magic.
It was like watching the sun rise.
Her posture changed first, then her smile broke, then her eyes lit up and her forehead smoothed.
"Wait, you mean? Wait, so I can get ideas from the book I'm reading?"
"Yes. That is the idea."
"Ohhhhh, I get it now. That makes so much sense!"
"Wait, so can I do things the writer of my book did?"
"Yup. Use the book for inspiration."
"That's not copying? Wait, no, I'm not using the words, just the, what's that called, the writing thingies."
"Correct. You can steal all the writing strategies from your author you want."
"Ms. Hirsch. That is so cool!"
"Thanks. There is a method to my madness."
She nodded and smiled.
Then she bent over her paper in a dismissal of my assistance.
So I got up and walked away.
I love conversations like that.
It isn't like she really needed help, per se.
More she needed to think aloud when she got stuck.
I got lucky. I got to see what happened when she followed her own train of thought.
Kids getting stuff, always a good thing.