I’m in a coaching cycle with fourth grade teachers. The kids are working on writing historical fiction. The students have thought about struggles children might face; they have learned a bit about historical time periods; they have tried to place their characters in a historical setting, and they have created multiple story arcs and scenes in their notebooks to play around with story ideas. Recently we showed students how they could sketch their scenes across pages as a way to plan their stories.
As I pulled up next to a student, I noticed him sketch a sun on the page he was working on. Suddenly, he flipped back to an earlier page and sketched a cloud in the top left corner. And then he went right back to the page he was working on. I was curious. It was time to do some research. “I noticed you just flipped to the first page and sketched a cloud. Can you talk with me about that?”
“Oh, he said,” rather nonchalantly, “I thought that maybe the beginning should be kind of dark (He is setting his story in WW2.), so I put a cloud in the sky. I figured if I make it dark and rainy, that will help create the mood. This scene here is happier, so I put some sunshine in.” I must say, I was rather impressed (Completely blown away is more like it!).
Today, as spring continues to struggle to pull out of winter, I thought about that fourth grader and his writing. This gray, raw, rainy weather has me trapped inside, unable to walk the dog, not wanting to venture out. My mood is dark. My energy, waning. My optimism, nonexistent. Weather sure can create mood!