Friday morning the week before spring break, Opal 2
students rushed into the classroom as their families patiently waited
outside. Today was the day that they'd been waiting for and talking
about for weeks. As each child entered the room,
they looked around, checked to be sure that there were indeed cookies
and tea as we'd promised, and then grabbed their story. The story was
not just any story, but a story that was theirs, that they had written, a
story that they truly cared about, a story
that they had acted out and played, told to friends, built and painted,
revised, edited, and finally published.


But a story isn't really published until there is an audience to hear
it. And having people hear your story for the first time is exciting and
scary, thrilling and nerve-wracking all at the same time. The nervous
smiles that were seen around the room were signs
that the children in Opal 2 were wondering about all the hard work that
went in to this published piece of writing. Would the strategies they
had discovered mentor authors using to engage their readers work in
their stories too? Would the listeners want them
to turn the page? Would they stay engaged and want to know more? Would
they laugh when they were supposed to? Would their story make sense to
others?


After a few minutes to be sure that each author had their story and had time to find a comfortable
spo
t to settle into, we invited our audience in. Slowly, friends and families
spread out into the room and found an author to listen to. And
after they listened to one, they found another, and then another.  

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Lucy Calkins says,
"As
writers, what we all need more than anything else in the world is
listeners, listeners who will respond with silent empathy, with sighs of
recognition, with laughter and tears
and questions and stories of their own. Writers need to be heard."


And to say the least, the children in Opal 2 felt heard! 

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Thank you, thank you Opal 2 families and friends for making sure our amazing author's were heard! Your incredibly
thought
ful feedback and connections will be something that lives inside these authors for a very long time!

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