I often have my students bring in photographs of them at special times in their lives in order to help them spark their memory (and write a small moment story.) I discourage them from bringing in posed family portraits since, unless you got into a fist-fight with your little sister before the snapshot at Sears, there’s nothing too exciting about posed portraits.
I wouldn’t necessarily use my bridal shower, which occurred yesterday, as a demonstration for my students, but I’m going to use it as a demo so you can see how multiple photographs (not just one) can help you start an entry in a notebook or a story about a small moment in time.
My mom and I arrived in Stamford a bit early for the shower. I was asked to wait outside since something was getting set up for me. When I walked in I found that there was a cupcake tree (YUM!!!! One of my favorite desserts!) awaiting my arrival. However, the cupcakes had fallen off of the tree a few times, so they wanted me to pose for a picture before the fell again. (Right after the photo was taken, they were all placed on a paper plate, which had a gown and tux on it.)
Lori (my Matron of Honor) and Linda (my future mother-in-law) led a game about how well Marc and I know each other. Apparently, we did pretty well, but our answers weren’t always the same! Hmmmmm… (That’s a whole other story.)
My mother and I join forces when we play the “List as many songs as you can that have the word love, or its derivation, in the title.” We didn’t win a prize though since we only had five songs between the both of us.
Carrie urged me to put the plate down. I did. Then we took a more normal photo. These are four of my six bridesmaids. Two weren’t at the shower yesterday since one was moving and the other was in a play.
After everyone signed the plate, I decided to add a few finishing touches to the plate before I went home and baked it. I wanted to add the wedding date, details about when this plate was signed, etc.
So now that I have all of this… what would I do next?
OPTION A: Well, I can take all of these snippets and try to pick just one photograph and write long about it.
OPTION B: I could use this as a demo in my classroom, but I’m not sure I would at the beginning of the school year… depends how much you want your kids to get to know you. I could show my students how to tell a sequential story using all of these.
OPTION C: Personally, I’d write a notebook entry about each of these and then try to develop one that entry into a personal narrative.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).