From Waffles to Writing Books

M-m-m-m, oatmeal with brown sugar are just what a body needs on a damp, cold Monday morning in a hotel far from home. I am sipping my coffee, blowing on the spoonful of creamy warmth as I peruse the USA Today front page. Several people have arrived in the dining area. They are milling about the breakfast area making their choices for the first meal of the the day.

All of a sudden, I begin to notice activity in the waffle section. Two men are standing around, making comments on the news story above their heads as the wife of one man comes over, “What are you doing?” she inquires of her husband.

“I thought I’d have a waffle,” he replies. She glances over to the waffle irons.

“Did you put batter in it and turn it over?” wife asks. I believe she already knows the answer to this question.

A look of puzzlement crosses the man’s face. “I thought it already had that in it. Don’t I just wait here for the waffle?”

Exasperation with head shaking describes the wife, as if this is not an unusual response from her husband. “You have to put batter in the waffle machine, then flip it over. The timer will beep when it is ready.” she says in a very calm voice.

“Oh, I guess I would just have been standing here a while if you didn’t come over here.” he says with a laugh as he watches his wife pour the batter into the waffle iron and flip it over. She walks away before the timer beeps. Her breakfast is getting cold. After the waffle iron beeps, he is able to wrestle the waffle to his plate and join his wife at the table.

I suppose the wife has always done it all for her husband. This makes him helpless in new situations. I remember this scene when I am working with kindergarten teachers today. They have a difficult time believing that their students can be successful and independent in writer’s workshop (after all they are only five). I continue to sing the song,” Kindergarten’s Can Do Writing Workshop.” You know the tune, it all starts with a belief that your students have something to say. Today I brought thinking by Katie Wood Ray, a blog  post by Katie Keier (Catching Readers Before They Fall), and another blog post  from a  kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wills to try to convince them kindergarten students can write books. Not just they can, but they should be writing books! If they (teachers) always do the thinking for their students, those students will still be standing there waiting for someone to tell them what to write. I hope my message made them think about stepping out and giving this a try with their students.