Today was the last day of the Badgerdog writers workshop for kids, and the students got a chance to read some of their work, from the little bitty elementary school kids on up to high schoolers. Mostly they read poetry and short stories — A read from a descriptive piece he came up with about the city of Memphis.
What I liked about the workshop was hearing from A about what they were learning. The teachers presented the kids with the building blocks — metaphor, free writing, writing exercises, getting to the sensory detail — and let ’em go.
I would have loved a class like this when I was that age. I don’t think writing can necessarily be taught, but I do think it can be learned. This workshop would have been incredibly validating.
Things that the workshop brought into focus: little kids write about transforming into miniature or microscopic creatures. Is it because they are accustomed to creating worlds with their toys and in their imaginations are used to entering these miniature worlds already?
Middle and high school students write lots of dark and forbidding poetry. I wrote plenty at that age myself (and well, there’s still some of it around). I think it fills a need and it is certainly part of a grand tradition.
There was also plenty of humor, again even with the littles, who were so proud and cute and funny on purpose (as opposed to people laughing at them).
I was really impressed and I am glad I made A go. He swam against the current with choosing a descriptive essay and I think that took courage. Writing isn’t always about emotion. Sometimes it’s about clear communication. Badgerdog fostered both.