Writing: A common thread.

My nephew's blanket

I remember when I was 10, my grandmother, Big Momma, crocheting a blanket. It had a few colors and she would count to seven and the blanket would grow. I was completely fascinated by what she was doing and asked her if she would teach me. She did and this is where the frustrating fun began. Learning to hold the hook was difficult because I lacked the finesse my Big Momma had. I had gripped it tightly and it would move like I wanted it. Big Momma said it was alright because I would get better. Then lacing the yarn though my fingers was easy because I was able to copy the way she held the yarn. I was ready for the basic stitch but because I lacked the grace to hold the hook, the basic stitch was a complete failure. Big Momma only smiled and showed my how to make a basic stitch without using the hook. I was proud at how quickly I picked up that stitch and so I was ready to actually use the hook. I worked very hard until I became good then I made my first row. I was thrilled with what I had accomplished as was Big Momma. I complete a second and third row until I had a blanket fit for my Barbie. I would rip out everything I had done and do it all over again until I became proficient with a hook as well as making the basic stitch with the hook.

The basic stitch

I was very content with the stitch and I made blankets for my own children. I had noticed that my Mother-in-Law had a few afghans and I asked her if she knew of any crochet stitches and would she teach me. She said yes and I learned very quickly. I had the finesse that Big Momma had and have since incorporated the stitches and am able to make a new kind of blanket. I have made blankets for friends and family members. Unless the moms to be have certain color schemes, I will use baby neutral colors. My grown daughter has since learned the basic stitch from me but has gone on to You Tube to pick up different stitches.

The incorporated stitch

As a teacher, I see all the stages of learning how to write within my learning how to crochet. A child doesn't quiet have the finesse to hold a regular pencil so letting a child use a fatter pencil help a child learn how to hold a pencil. Once the child can hold a fatter pencil, it's time to downsize the pencil and practice the letters until straight printed letters are achieved. At this stage, a child is still eager to please the teacher and her request for good handwriting. Cursive writing is the next stage and this stage is easier to achieve because the student has the basics for writing. It is also at this stage where a student has developed a fluidness in his/her penmanship.

Being able to actually put thoughts on paper is often difficult for students. In my classroom, I have heard so many time: How do I start this, why do I have to do this or I can't write. My kids often think I am looking for the next great American novel. My struggles with teaching writing are having my students understand that they are already writers with each text and status they post. I don't have a magic wand to wave and make my kids become writers. It just takes time, practice and patience.


Created with images by Kathleen Tyler Conklin - "Quill and ink well at the State House"

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