I started this entry last week but never had time to get back to it...Oct. 12
Frustration! When I got here today, I went to my mailbox expecting at least a few responses on the cards we had passed out, but nothing! So, I typed up the ones I received last week and found that, minus the anonymous ones and ones like, "I lik ur hair," there were 20 I could designate for the newspaper and for prizes.
Prizes are another story altogether. I struggled with deciding between school-related items (pencils, pens, pencil boxes, notebooks, etc.) and hokey Halloween items - finally settling on the Halloween items. They're either going to come across as extremely hokey/dorky or clever/cool just because students don't usually get small insignificant prizes for writing...right?
I distributed the prizes to the appropriate homeroom boxes and then decided to stay and drop in on the newspaper group. That was when I found out that A, the instructor, had visited my mailbox on the previous day and, to my surprise, had pulled all additional cards I had been looking for. His perception was that they were "pretty negative," but he had found about 6 that they would publish in the newspaper. Of course I had to relate that I had just finished sending prizes out to the 20 people from last week and that some of them needed to be included in the publication as well. No problem, he said. They would just add another page to the paper.
Long story, short, the next day I had all of the cards...sent out more candy and thank-you's and transcribed and sent the second set of responses to the principal. He loved them and asked if I would display blown-up copies of the responses on a bulletin board in the cafeteria. The results are in the photo above. I ended up with between 40 and 50 really thoughtful responses and I am content with that.
Other bonuses from the all-school write: Publicity - I gained a permanent bulletin board in a prominent location to display student work and writing opportunities. I used the postings on the bulletin board as an opportunity to send emails to all staff encouraging them to read the responses and to do some writing of their own on the National Day of Writing, October 20. Although there is not school here, I suggested that with 3 days away from students, that they might like to do a little writing. I asked them to think of a time when they were younger and struggling with difficult circumstances or a tough decision. I suggested they write a letter to that younger self with advice from their older self on how to deal with the situation. (idea from NWP/MWP)
So, I have really gotten my money's worth out of the all-school prompt.