In my classroom we write in notebooks daily and in my classroom we celebrate that writing weekly with a Friday Open Mic. It quickly became a part of our usual routine.
First, a handful of students read aloud from their notebooks a selection of their choosing. Then all of of us celebrate their writing with a compliment. I make a point of complimenting every student who shares, although to save time I only have students give one compliment to one writer.
I probably get more excited about it than they do -- both about reading and complimenting -- but I think they secretly enjoy getting to hear their peers read what they've written. After all, it's a peak into a secret notebook that otherwise they do not have to share or comment on.
All kinds of writing gets shared during this time: to do lists, poetry, stories, memories, rants, and even doodles. I decided I couldn't wait until this Friday for the next one (recent weather has put off Open Mic for several weeks) and so declared yesterday 'Make Up Open Mic'.
One student shared their to do list that they made during one of the snow days. Another read about their struggles with belief and doubt in regards to an afterlife -- a bold move in a highly conservative, highly Christian school. What could possibly follow such a controversial and existential notebook entry?
A doodle of a flamingo with the words "Flamingo Time" scribbled below its stick-like legs.
There were compliments for all of these pieces and as we moved on I realized this is my class in a nutshell. One minute we are discussing deeply personal or existential matters and the next it's celebratory doodles of exotic birds.
I still don't know what flamingo time is, but it does sound like fun.