Teachers Connect
Jul 24, 2019

Advanced Institute Peer Review & Feedback

Two key aspects of the ABC Curriculum are revision and publication. The goal is to provide multiple opportunities for our students to share, receive constructive feedback, and revise their text. Put yourself in your students’ shoes!

  1. Share (publish) one writing sample you’ve composed this week (by 8 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 25). 
  2. Peer review two (2) of your colleagues’ work. Persuade them to edit their work work by offering explicit suggestions for ways their writing might be improved (reference 6+1 Traits writing rubrics) (by 8 a.m. EDT Friday, July 26).
  3. Reflect on your colleagues’ recommendations—what suggestions were offered that might improve your composition? 

55 Responses to Advanced Institute Peer Review & Feedback

  1. Jon Berg says:

    This sample of narrative writing was inspired by the painting “To Kiss the Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like by Hollis Sigler.

    Late at night, when the neighborhood is so quiet you can only hear the buzz of the streetlights, is when I miss her the most. Her warm hugs as she sang to me and my sister, or the smell of her cooking filling our house, have already been gone for too long.

    I knew what was coming, or at least I thought I did. She had been getting weaker for months, maybe even years. But, I guess when you’re that strong your spirit can take more than most.

    When the phone rang that night, I knew something was wrong even before I answered. I could feel it in my chest – I could barely take a breath. Leaning against the window, hoping the cell signal went through, I said “hello.” The voice on the other end responded “La Nonna è andata.” That strained voice was my mothers. I knew why she said what she did. It was too soon, and too painful to say THAT word. Even unsaid, I knew that my grandmother was gone.

    My Nonna had always talked about how much she wanted to see her lost family and friends – those that left her behind. I know she’s with them now, wishing to again see us, those she left behind.

    • Sally Yick says:

      very moving, I can feel your hurt.
      like you story, feel real!

      • Adrienne Gayoso says:

        Hi Sally,

        Can you offer Jon some constructive feedback so that he can improve an already lovely piece of writing?

    • Sally Tsou says:

      maybe instead “she” give a name will make me more clear who you talking about from the beginning.
      though I did understand who at the very end.

    • Lynn Westergren says:

      I really responded to the fit of your narrative with the painting. The painting brings “sparkle” into a dark situation, and your narrative brings a richness to an image that might be perceived as overly whimsical. Your vivid description of your neighborhood, juxtaposed with the painting pulls me in, taking me around the corners, up into the rooms that your Nonna filled with joy, and to you, getting the call.
      I am curious if you meant there to be a slightly different layout to the words, intentional spacing, white space etc. I know the site changes things a bit. I could see that allowing you to sit longer with certain phrases.

  2. Lynn W says:

    In Response to Encountering Alice Neel’s T.B. Harlem at the Women’s Museum

    So few men.

    Lots of rosy pink or luxurious brown.

    Typically manhandled materials made other in womens’ hands.

    Then,

    here you are.

    Dry, chalky skin, deep contrasts – boot black as you move into the crevasses under your eyes,

    near your armpits,

    on your belly,

    lighter on your cheek, on your shoulder.

    Speaking of armpits, something smells…sponge baths don’t seem to do the trick.

    There’s no air in here to move about odors

    of things covered by gauze,

    held in place with tape.

    of things hinted of by purple.

    • Natasha T says:

      Your use of imagery is amazing. I like the descriptiveness of your words. IMO, you’ve given a “lightness” to such a heavy, somber painting.

    • Debbie S. says:

      The images in your words are very strong and I think the phrasing you add through line breaks really strengthens your words. I have two suggestions to consider. You use the word move twice. Once in the line “boot black as you move into” and “There’s no air to move about odors.” You might consider changing at least one as I think it would make the world stronger or if you want a “move” word, maybe consider a stronger one..creep, edge, expand, etc.
      As I read the poem there is a shift when you say the line “speaking of armpits, something smells.” I like the different perspective but wonder if you might think of reversing the phrases so that it reads “something smells, speaking of armpits.” For me that kind of draws the reader in before giving that shift. Thanks for considering. I looked up the art and I think you’ve captured an important essence.

    • Lynn W says:

      In Response to Encountering Alice Neel’s T.B. Harlem at the Women’s Museum (revised)

      So few men.

      Lots of rosy pink or luxurious brown.

      Typically manhandled materials made other in womens’ hands.

      Then,

      here you are.

      Dry, chalky skin, deep contrasts – boot black as you creep into the crevasses under your eyes,

      near your armpits,

      on your belly,

      lighter on your cheek, on your shoulder.

      Something smells, speaking of armpits,…sponge baths don’t seem to do the trick.

      There’s no air in here to move about odors

      of things covered by gauze,

      held in place with tape.

      of things hinted of by purple.

  3. Camila S says:

    Narrative from my image of the corner of a room with kids toys.

    It’s bed time in the Le-Salvatierra House. 8:45 means the twins ask daddy for “HI-HO!” up the stairs. Seba shouts, “ME FIRST”! Tuan picks up both kids, each weighing 35 pounds, and sings as he gallops up the stairs “Hi- ho, ho-ho. We’re off to bed we go. Do do do do, do do do do, hi-ho, hi-ho, hi-ho, hi-ho”. The twins are both bobbing their heads and hum along gleefully as they reach their rooms. I am in their rooms setting up their stars and moons to light up the room as they sleep. Maya sees me and asks, as she do every single night, “Mommy! Where my baby (a small skeleton stuffy)?”. Seba follows to ask “I want my tata too.” Now I need to figure out which “tata” he is referring to since he is having a difficult time with his speech? Is it his Daniel Tiger airplane or is it his Tata (my father)? Nope. It is his Cat Boy Car from PJ Masks.

    I scurry downstairs to try to look for both beloved items in the living room. I look on the couch and in their table to find nothing. Crawl on the floor to check under areas. Nothing. Walk around the room and finally find them both laying in the corner of a room. I hear the kids asking for both toys, so I scurry back up the stairs and into their room. I hand their toys back. Both kids hug their precious objects with a huge smile on their face as Daddy and Mama start singing their favorite songs. Seba loves Wheels on the Bus and Maya loves Twinkle Twinkle. Finally, both little monsters snuggle up to the corner of their bed with their favorite toys and say “Night night. Luu you”.

    • Keith Pieschek says:

      Awww, cute story about the work and rewards that go into parenting.

      Suggestions: Start with the the time “8:45pm. It’s bedtime in the…”The twins, Seba and and Maya, excitedly ask daddy….”
      In the paragraph where you’re looking for the toys downstairs, emphasize how frustrating it is having to search all over for these toys. Maybe list them one by one each ending with – nothing. Also, add a simile saying searching is like….”

    • Julie R says:

      Very descriptive and informative about this bedtime ritual…names, songs, questions the children always ask.

      For whimsy you could add something about the toys that are hiding…do they often hide…are they in a different place each time, what comments might the toys make as you discover them.

  4. Jen C. says:

    I AM WATER

    I am water. I sit on the leaf of a flower and bask in the sun. I am evaporated in to the clouds adn fall to the ground as a snowflake. There, I melt into the ground and I am absorbed by the roots of a plant. I am stored in the leaves of a plant until I become dinner for a bunny rabbit. The rabbit enjoys his meal and sighs. I am exhaled as air vapor and return once more to the clouds.

    • Debbie C. says:

      What an interesting story of a molecule- it was clear and I could easily visualize its journey !I think you could easily turn this into a longer poem because you did a wonderful job in making me think about molecules outside of just being water.

    • Dara says:

      Hi Jen,
      Your molecule had such an adventure that I am almost jealous! I like this poem very much. Did you consider changing your verb tense to the (ing)? ex. “I am water, sitting on the leaf of a flower and basking in the sun.” I wonder how you could take the poem in a new direction, maybe expanding on ideas. I would love to see the artwork that comes with this piece. Congratulations on your work this week!

  5. Debbie S. says:

    Response to Very Super Stitches
    crazy quilts go
    Round and round
    Scraps of fabric I have found.

    Echoing my mother’s dress
    Pants that held my sister Jess.

    In pieces they have torn apart
    Their visage opens up my heart.

    Sewn together in a square
    It welcomes cast offs,
    Even tears.

  6. Julie R says:

    Narrative on my image of The Beehive inspired by Untitled iron work by Frida Baranek

    Most Exciting Thing I Did This Summer

    As teachers and students are on summer vacation, my work is just beginning. I gather with thousands of my closest friends because I can’t do the job alone. It’s a big undertaking and we all need to fit inside…all of us.

    And now that’s it’s not so cold we can get to work. First off, location, location, location. Where do we want to spend our summer this year. Last year we found a beautiful oak tree. I loved that tree and the family who lived nearby. The children were so fun to watch. But they didn’t seem to like me so much so I stayed away and only marveled from afar at their silly antics and summer adventures.

    Maybe this year we will hang by the lake. I’m gong to scout out a few locations so I can convince my friends. And maybe they’ll be impressed with my ambition. I know I’ll never be queen but one can always dream….or pretend.

    Today I’m going to set aside my plans and take a nap. I have a long few months ahead of me creating this massive structure and home. It’s tedious, it’s ambitious, it’s important to get the engineering just right. I must prepare myself for this busy time and the hard work ahead.

    • Liz J says:

      Julie, I know you described your piece as silly and I don’t think it’s silly at all. I really enjoyed the whimsical feel of the bee telling the story of its summer vacation. The part about the children not liking you much was clever. (Some of my students are terrified of bees!)
      The one thing I would suggest would be supporting your story idea with a couple of facts about bees. I don’t think you need too many, but it would provide the reader with an entertaining story and some valuable information. (Especially now, when the bee population is on the decline and it’s going to affect all of our food supply…)
      This site might be a good place to find some information in case you want to add some facts.
      https://www.natgeokids.com/za/discover/animals/insects/honey-bees/

    • Keith Pieschek says:

      Julie, I love hearing your story from a bee’s perspective.
      Suggestions: Think about adding more information about the hive or why the hive is so much work. It would give a chance to use creative word choices and figurative language describing it.
      In the part you say that you’ll never be queen, maybe take a few moments to describe what your job is.

  7. Wooden rainbow lit up the wild woods.
    Home for all!
    Entered without falling
    Gradual transfer into the irregular form, increasing circles at flow.
    Gradual charcoal blue-grey
    constructed another row in my world.

    • Natasha T says:

      This is a great response to Ursula’s work. I can mentally see the colors and shapes you reference. I find it difficult though to detect the rhythm.

      • Lynn W says:

        Hi Sally. I am curious what your writing is responding to…I will take my cues from the last comment and relate it to the work of Ursula von Rydingsvard. Your appreciation of the art work really comes through in these few short phases. You’ve created some very interesting images…a wooden rainbow, a home for all….the more I sit with your words, the more potential for depth of meaning I feel. Because it is a concise piece of writing, each word holds a lot of weight…so I might not use the same word more than once, wooden/woods gradual/gradual. It feels a bit like an “initial response” to the work that could be left as is, or fine tuned to offer even more impact.

  8. Liz J says:

    Story inspired by “If the Shoe Fits” by Mirella Bentivoglio

    “Girl, your feet are enormous!” Maria shrieked as she marveled at Mirella’s size ten sneakers. She continued, “Who is your dad? Big Foot?” Maria continued laughing as she pointed at Mirella’s feet.
    Mirella looked down at the big black blocks that encased her called feet and wished she could hide them. She felt the heat creep into her cheeks turning them bright pink and tears prick her eyes. “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry,” Mirella commanded herself.
    “Why you gotta have such a big mouth?” Mirella wanted to shout. But, instead she repeated her mantra and kept her eyes on the ground. Mirella wouldn’t dare say something to Maria. No way. No one would.
    Maria was the queen of the neighborhood. No one challenged her authority. No one chastised her for picking on others. No one dared cross Maria. No one said anything.
    Except…
    “Maria is so pretty.”
    “She sings so sweetly.”
    “Maria has such beautiful lustrous hair.”
    “She dances so elegantly.”
    “Yeah, on her tiny elfin feet,” thought Mirella while her gaze rested on her shoes. She said to herself, “My feet keep me grounded. They balance me and bring me places like the library and the museum. Books don’t care how big my feet are, art doesn’t either. These feet will guide me toward my future and I’ll forge my own path. Just you wait, Maria. Just you wait, world.”
    Mirella looked up, but Maria hadn’t even stuck around for a response. She was teasing her next target. Mirella saw her a few feet away looming over Sarita. She could hear Maria mock, “Sarita, why are you so short? Are you an elf?”
    Mirella shook her head in pity and thought to herself, “Some people will never learn…” She squared her shoulders, lifted her head up high and strode purposefully as she promised herself, “One day your feet, yes, you, Mirella Bentivoglio, your feet, will be valued as a work of art and tell the world the story of mean old Maria.” And with that resolve, she strode home.

    • Jen C. says:

      Hi, Liz!

      I enjoyed your story. Well done. My only critique deals with the 6+1 Trait Key Question that asks, “Is the finished piece pleasing to the eye?” I found that the words seemed to get a bit jumbled as the dialog mingled with other sentences. The Rubric suggests that the writing should “feature white space that helps reader focus on text”. I know the formatting on this blog doesn’t allow for much flexibility when it comes to margins and font, but perhaps placing some blank space around the dialog sections would help the reader keep track of their place and increase reading fluency.

      I hope my suggestion will help when you edit. Thank you for sharing your work!

      • Dara C. says:

        Hi Liz,
        Who among us hasn’t had a body part that we disliked for the negative attention it received? Real or not, that hurts. Scabs over. Gets picked again, until a scar forms.
        A point for clarity- lines 4 into 5 are missing a word. So-called feet? I’m not sure what you are going for.
        I also got a little lost in the internal dialog. Not sure if there is a way to make that more apparent to the reader, but some sort of a break might help.
        Thanks for sharing your work.

  9. Sally Yick says:

    Wooden rainbow lit up the wild woods.
    Home for all!
    Entered without falling
    Gradual transfer into the irregular form, increasing circles at flow.
    Gradual charcoal blue-grey
    constructed another row in my world.

  10. Keith Pieschek says:

    Water Cycle Narrative

    I am on top of the world. I’m surrounded by my friends, and I feel like I’m a part of a great, light-hearted community. It’s amazing to see the world pass by below us.
    Well, that is until one when everything changed. For so long, there has been this pressure, not like Final Exams pressure, but like pressure that keeps you focused, that has kept my family together. One day, without much warning, the pressure was gone and everything seemed to fall apart. Literally. Without that pressure, I couldn’t hold onto my cloud family. I slowly drifted away from everyone falling into the cold abyss below.
    In fear, I used the cold air to transform into a snowflake. I drifted slowly downwards and saw that my friends were headed to a large white chunk below so I followed them. We landed lightly and, in fear of being separated again, joined with my friends around me as tightly as I could. We used the cold air to our advantage as our bond became solid. We were a glacier and felt invincible.
    I stayed this way for a long time. We all did. It seemed like it would always be this way. But, one day it started to get warm. It was too hot for us. Our invincible glacier was separating. I had to let go of them. With the heat all around I transformed again – this time, into a gas. It was a last resort to save myself and I saw my family below me as I rose up, up and up. After a while, the heat was gone and I felt that pressure again. That pressure allowed me to join others like me. In this familiar setting, we formed a cloud. I was back where I had started! But it didn’t last long.
    In all the excitement of forming our cloud, we had been moving a long way. We traveled far and the pressure began to leave. Not again! I was falling once more looking at my cloud family farther and farther away. I was falling faster than last time. Something was different – the air! It was warmer and I hadn’t turned into a snowflake. I was a raindrop moving fast through the sky towards…something blue! And it wasn’t still like the glacier, it was moving.
    Splash! In no time at all I was flowing alongside so many others like me as a stream. It was hard to get a grip on what was happening with our steady flowing. I did my best to avoid all the things in the river. But I couldn’t escape that red object. It came out of nowhere and I felt like I was stuck to it and then thrown down into a dark tunnel. It was quiet and dark and very few of my water family was there. I was able to find some friends and together, we knew could find a way out.

    • Jen C. says:

      Hi, Keith!

      Wow! What an excellent story! It was so vivid, I could actually see your little water molecule throughout his travels. However, similar to my comment to Liz, with such a long text, the words began to swim together as I read. In the Presentation section of the 6+1 Traits, it suggests that the writer should “feature white space that helps reader focus on text”. Perhaps if you made each stop on the molecule’s journey as its own paragraph, with a space in between, it would make it easier to not get lost in all the words.

      I did immensely enjoy your story, though! Well done 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your work!

    • Liz J says:

      Keith, I think you did an excellent job making a topic like the water cycle into an interesting adventure for one molecule. I really liked the pressure part at the beginning and the way you used personification to have the molecule leave its family.
      I think the only suggestions I have would be to make sure it’s clear to the reader that the cloud and the glacier are two separate families. When I read family the first time when you spoke about the cloud and then when you saw your family below you and then again above you, I was a little confused. Maybe that was just a mistake in the way that I read it. It just might help your reader if clear that up or use a different word, like my new family or my newest group of friends. I hope that helps.

      • Liz J. says:

        PS I also really liked the last part and how it ended with determination that you and your friends would find a way out!

  11. Debbie S. says:

    This is in response to Very Super Stitches.

    Crazy quilts go round and round.
    Scraps of fabric I have found

    Echoing my mother’s dress
    Pants that held my sister Jess.

    My family, they have torn apart
    Their visage opens up my heart.

    Sewn together in a square
    It welcomes cast offs
    Even tears.

    • Emily S says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I really like your poem, and the sentiment in it. I had some suggestions for changing the punctuation and switching stanza’s 2 and 3. However you must have just edited the third stanza and my suggestion doesn’t work anymore.

      I’d like to see a period after “mother’s dress” and then you could carry something about “sister Jess” into the third stanza. Like “once loved, now torn apart.” I am confused about the next line.
      Is visage the quilt or your families face? I think “family” and “heart” needs to be in that line.
      I hope that helps.

    • sophie says:

      Your poem is whimsical and sweet. I apprecaite the simple rhyme pattern and especially like the 3 lines that end it.

      I agree with Emily that this part is confusing: “My family, they have torn apart/Their visage opens up my heart.”
      Could you clarify/be more specific by adjusting word choice or punctuation?

  12. Dara C. says:

    Water Molecule
    I was minding my own business,
    floating down the stream
    When suddenly I was hit by a
    warm sun beam!
    Rising up, evaporating, floating in the air
    Brrr! Chilly! CHILLY! It’s cold up in here!
    Tumbling, falling, trapped in the ice
    Maybe I’ll stay awhile, this glacier’s kinda nice!
    Here we go, here comes the sun, evaporate again
    Back to the clouds- wonder what will happen then?

    • Debbie C. says:

      What a clever rhyme! You did a great job in keeping me visualizing myself as a molecule in the water, in the air, in the ice, then back in the air. I think they should use this one in the books!!

    • Jon B. says:

      Hi Dara,

      Thank you for sharing your water cycle poem – I think it’s both creative and informative. Well done. I like the rhyming scheme you used and your word choice (hit, tumbling, trapped).

      Two questions/comments:

      1) You could consider modifying a line break in your third line, by moving the words “by a” from the end of the line that begins with “When suddenly” to the beginning of the following line. This might help that section of the poem flow more easily.

      2) Does your water molecule end up in a cloud in the middle of your poem? Does it fall back to the glacier as snow or rain? I imagined snow, but you could add a line or two that includes those details.

      Thanks again,
      Jon

      • Dara says:

        Hi Jon! Thanks for the feedback…I liked the triplet feel of “suddenly” added to “By a”…sort of a Fresh Prince style rap…but I like your suggestion too. I might make that modification for younger students that haven’t been introduced to that rhythm pattern yet. As for the molecule, I started in a stream, evaporated, then turned to snow, where I got stuck in the ice of a glacier for 3 rolls! 🙂 thanks for your feedback!
        Dara

  13. Natasha T says:

    Narrative about the Water Cycle:
    I am a plant
    I grow and grow
    I’m still a plant
    I make edible fruit for animals
    Now I am an animal
    I hop and hop and urinate
    I flow into the groundwater
    Now I am groundwater
    I flow through sediment and into
    the wetland
    I am in the stream now
    I continue to flow into the ocean
    Now I am in the ocean
    I am one of many water
    molecules in the ocean

    • Debbie S. says:

      Nice job capturing the movement of the molecule. I like the way you are phrasing the stages that the molecule takes. One thing that you might consider is to make your transitions repetitive. You sort of do that but the poem might be stronger if you make it more purposeful. For example:starting each phrase with Now I am.. so Now I’m still a plant…Noe I am an animal..Now I am groundwater..Now I am in the stream…
      Most of your phrases start this way but you switch it around once or twice and I think the refrain would make the work flow more smoothly. You could also do something to the text to make it stand out, ( italics or all caps) to emphasize. Also in your animal you might just say a rabbit although it’s implied. I think it creates a stronger image in the reader’s mind. I enjoyed reading this!

    • Emily S says:

      HI Natasha,

      This is a sweet little story about the water cycle. It reads nicely. One suggestion I have is that ” I flow through sediment and into the wetland” is longer than the other sentences and upsets the flow. Maybe it should be shortened to “I flow into the wetland”.

      Also “I am in the stream now” uses “now” at the end of the line, whereas in other sentences, you place it at the beginning of the line. So I think you should switch that to be consistent.

      Also, “I continue to flow into the ocean” seems wordy compared to the other lines. I’d switch that to “I flow to the ocean”.

      That seems to be a lot of suggestions for something I didn’t think I could find anything to change. But there you go.

  14. Emily S says:

    In response to my drawing which was in response to the felt houses by Laura Tixier in her series “Plaid Houses”.

    Homemade Hometown

    If we could build a town
    with our hands
    we’d use no bricks or mortar,

    The buildings would be
    made of felt
    stitched and stacked and soft.

    What crumpled craft would
    line the streets
    in colors fresh and festive,

    Our windows and doors
    cut with scissors,
    our fences, yarn and wool.

    • Camila S says:

      This is a beautiful poem. I wish you mentioned something about the brilliant colors the artist used in the houses since the colors were so neon and bright.

    • sophie says:

      I really like this, I got the same warmth from reading this poem as I did when I looked at the piece upstairs. The poem is even visually appealing, with all the stanzas the same shape.

      Since this is a poem about community and building a town, I’m wondering if you can add some lines about what the people are doing or feeling or a scene/vibe that’s going on inside one of the buildings.

  15. Sally Tsou says:

    How did the water molecule return to the cloud

    I am a drop of water molecule lives in a small glass bottle with in a crazy scientist’s smelly basement.

    But fortunately, there is a window beside me, every day I image escape from the window and return to the cloud on top a mountain somewhere. But the window frame is very tight, I can’t fit through.

    Every day I think very hard how can I escape when the crazy scientist opens my bottle and study me. One day the crazy scientist came down to cook hot water for his coffee, he usually have coffee upstairs, I think his coffee maker broken down upstairs. As the water boiling, it evaporated the water went outside through the window frame.
    YES!

    I NEED TO

    EVAPORATE!

    How?

    Let me think.

    When the crazy scientist open my bottle I can jump into his hot boiling water and get evaporated and I can went through the tight window frame to out side!!!

    I waited and waited, finally opportunity came and I quickly jumped into the hot bowling water and I was evaporated in the air went through the window frame

    The wind outside carried me to the beautiful white cloud over a big tall mountain full of beautiful green tree! I am a little happy molecule now.

  16. Sally Tsou says:

    Poetry for my art:
    I live under the moon,
    but you can’t see me.
    I live above the moon,
    but you can’t touch me,
    If I live under the sea,
    please don’t fellow me! For I
    Can’t
    Feel myself

    • Natasha T says:

      Sally, your use of repetition really caught my attention. As I read your poem, I can’t help but make these visual images in my mind. I feel as though there is more to it, like there’s more you wanted to say.

  17. sophie s says:

    Narrative in response to my own creation (the glove)-

    I had a yellow and green Ninja Turtles baseball glove on my hand the first time I was told I was a girl. The sun was setting after a pick up game at the park and we all headed for home when a boy from my neighborhood said I was disgusting for taking my shirt off. We were a handful of sweaty, dirty, bare-chested kids chasing after each others’ pop flys and I didn’t understand why my nipples were any different than his or my brothers’. As a short-haired, hand-me-down-wearing elementary schooler, I developed strategies to code switch. A dress on the first day of school to avoid confusion the rest of the year as I entered the girls bathroom. Soccer at recess without ever revealing my name to temporary teammates. An arsenal of come-backs if my gender was ever called into question (“thanks grandma,” I once replied to an elderly man who called me “son”).

    I slept with my baseball glove under my pillow for years, until magazines and middle school taught me that teenagers don’t do that – and certainly not teenage girls. I tried on femininity. I tossed out my Ken Griffey Jr jersey. I sucked in my stomach. I quit sports.

    I still sometimes struggle to find a balance. When I want to channel my fiercest, most true self, I think about the glove I shared a bed with, and how for years I woke up as brave as I was boyish, unaware of any option besides embracing the challenge of being myself.

    • Camila S says:

      Sophie,
      This is beautiful and I know that I have had my own experience with that same feeling when I was a young girl trying to act like my idolized big brother. I only wish there was more description of how young you were in the first couple sentences. You gave a clear picture of you as a middle school girl, but didn’t give an age implication for when the “girl” with your baseball mit occurred.

    • Julie R says:

      Thank you for sharing something so personal. Your storytelling reveals a lot about your feelings in an indirect way by telling of the actions you took: throwing away Ken’s shirt, withholding your name for soccer. I too was wondering about your age but maybe it doesn’t matter.
      Did anyone else make a comment that day, what was the response to the boy…we’re you with friends or just neighborhood kids

  18. Debbie C. says:

    In response to Margaret Tafoya’s clay vessel:
    Formed from nature’s gems
    waiting to be found
    look for the rock
    I am waiting

    soft and strong they collect me
    cradle me home
    clean and prepare me
    I am ready

    gentle force guides
    into a spirited form
    protected cured polished
    I am legacy

    • Jon B. says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful piece of poetry. If I understood correctly, you’re writing from the perspective of the clay – which is powerful.

      Of course with more time you could take this poem in a variety of directions. You could add stanzas about how the vessel is used, cared for (and/or possibly broken after years of faithful use).

      When I write from the perspective of an inanimate object, I often find that I add more human emotions, really dramatizing the personification. For example, in this instance I may talk about how lucky the clay that was chosen felt OR how sad it was to be taken away from the larger clay deposit.

      Thanks again,
      Jon

      • Debbie C. says:

        In response to Margaret Tafoya’s clay vessel:

        Formed from nature’s gems
        waiting to be found
        look for the rock
        I am waiting

        soft and strong they collect me
        cradle me home
        clean and prepare me
        I am ready

        gentle force guides me
        into a spirited form
        protected cured polished
        I am legacy

        bought displayed treasured
        I am revered over time
        studied and discussed
        I am art

    • Sally Yick says:

      Your writing is full of beautiful images. I can walk in it and pick up rocks:)

    • Sally Yick says:

      So cool! Can you elaborate a little more of you became a legacy?

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