My wonderful learner Jarod comes to class twice a month and this week he was so very excited to tell me that his birthday is coming up and he will be 17.
I tell him I have a present for him, and I go to the garage and wrap up a writing notebook add a pack of fresh markers and throw in a focus spray too.
Jarod is delighted with his gift and one of the reasons is because he has become an excellent expressive writer, so new markers and a fresh notebook is the best gift ever!
I’ve been Jarod’s teacher and friend for around 10 years now.
We started working on reading and writing at our very first session.
It took Jarod a long time to click into reading and even longer to become a writer.
Years in fact, and I was beginning to wonder if expressive writing would ever happen.
Still, his mother continued to make the over 2 hour drive to my home each session and I continued to do what I do, teach to my learner's own unique speed and capabilities
Two years ago it, at last, all clicked for Jarod and he started expressive writing!
This was his first creation and it was written to me on the back of a worksheet;
“Ms bwn yuo fat”
That is what he wrote!
Well lucky for me my feelings did not get hurt, but interestingly enough, I had woken up that day feeling bloated and ‘fat’!
You’ll often hear me say that our learners are highly intuitive and I believe this is an example of that and that in itself is a great topic for future post.
I was thrilled with Jarod’s first display of expressive writing because we had been working on this for years and years.
I never give up and say writing or reading will not be possible for any child I teach.
Jarod now writes a big variety of expressive writings on the back of his sheets. He always writes what is on his mind.
These days the majority his writings are of the kindest and highest nature and I am so very proud of him.
I certainly don’t discourage his thoughts but remind him to express them gently and now he does!
I was strongly prompted to write this post today despite it being my day off and I was not planning on doing much of anything today.
Have you ever noticed how the Holy Spirit, your Inner Guide, just wont stop gently reminding you of things it wants you to do? Well. it happens to me all the time and that is why I am here writing!
This week when Jarod was doing his independent work at the table I decided to make him a hand made birthday card after I had given him the impromptu gift of markers and a notebook.
The card went like this:
Happy Birthday Jarod,
I have known you a long time.
You are a smart and handsome boy.
I am happy to know you.
I love you,
When I gave it to him I sat in awe at how he was reading each word and taking in the meaning of each word.
I sensed this card meant a great deal to him.
Jarod’s face was down as he was reading but I heard sniffles.
I said, “Are you crying?”
Jarod said “maybe”
I was touched to see him be moved to tears.
It was such a precious moment.
He went back to the table to resume his work; on the back of his next sheet he wrote me a thank you note.
I believe I share this because it’s a very sweet story and I share it for inspiration in that we should never give up on teaching our children to read and write even though they have a diagnosis and always remember the road of teaching is one that lasts a lifetime.
I share this because all of the teaching and modeling we do with our learners is really sinking in even if they don’t show you, one day everything you have been teaching just comes full circle and they have mastered something new.
I share this to as a reminder to myself that even the smallest of gestures or kind words I share can touch others in ways
I may or may not ever be aware of.
I wish you all happy learning and happy living,
With love and gratitude.
It has been on my heart to start a blog for a very long time.
In my work I am privy to so many wonderful stories that beg to be told and shared.
My first blog post is written by my long time student and friend Elizabeth Beutel.
Elizabeth started her learning sessions with me at age 4 and is now 20.
I developed my expressive writing methods with her as my tester of methods.
I am so very proud of the outstanding young woman and writer she has become.
Elizabeth recently lost her beloved grandfather.
In her grief I encouraged her to write a tribute to him.
Her reply was "I don't know what to say."
I gently guided her with a few ideas to work with.
She began her first draft on the back of one of her ‘happy sheets’ at the kitchen table.
That evening after class, she went home and wrote the below tribute to her grandfather.
She did it all on her own with no help whatsoever.
When she shared it with me at our next session I was beyond impressed. I was moved to tears.
This week I told Elizabeth about my new blog ideas and asked her if she would like to be a guest author.
She excitedly said 'yes" and went home and typed her handwritten tribute on the computer and sent it to me that evening so I could edit into in to the blog with ease.
Here is Elizabeth's beautiful tribute to her Grandpa Harry.
Tribute to my Grandpa Harry
February 18, 2018 was the day I lost someone very dear to me. My grandpa was by far one of the most amazing people I had the honor and pleasure of knowing. Even more so, I am proud to say that I am related to this man.
My grandpa was the life of the party, that everyone loved talking to and always wanted advice from. Our family grew closer because of him. When he was around, there was laughter, there was happiness and everyone loved him so much.
Many of us in the family were inspired by him. Because of him, we will keep him in our hearts. I know that he would be proud of me for making him such a huge part of my life.
Around him, my family always loved him. He made us laugh and smile. He always had something to say to brighten our day. He always loved our family.
When he died from the accident, the news was stocking and we tried to prepare ourselves for his death. But no one can really be prepared to lose a grandpa, a father to my dad and his brothers. We still cry over him but we can be strong for him. We just cry because we lost him and will miss him dearly.
He was in my life and now he is still my hero. He did a great job raising my dad by helping him and loving him. We call that the power of my grandpa. Our memories of him are an amazing gift, I have in my heart. I will always love him and thank him for helping me become a beautiful granddaughter.
When the sun comes out every morning I see him. He will be my grandpa forever. I see his light breaking through the clouds. I love you grandpa.
We’ll always remember
That special smile
That caring heart
And the warm embraces,
You always gave us,
We will always remember
You for being there for us
Though the good times and
No matter what!
We will remember
Your Grandpa because
There’ll never be another
To replace you in our
Our love will always
Be there for you.