A Practice of Gratitude: Three Things Thursday

October 13, 2016

I saw this link up posted in one of the comments on a post of Ally’s, and since I was on my third mini-breakdown of the week that day, I figured it might be a good thing for me to participate.

Three Things Thursday

More info at Nerd in the Brain

Here are three things I’m grateful for this week, all work-related:

1. A student came up to me after class and said he really appreciated the way I designed my assignments and set up the assignment sheets. Usually, he said, writing is super hard for him, but because I tell them exactly what I want and how I want it, it’s easy for him to outline/plug in the information, which helps him get to writing and removes some of the writer’s block.

Y’all. I cannot tell you how much this warmed my heart. I work really hard at designing assignments so students can be successful and so that there are no surprises (“There are no tricks here!” I frequently say), so to have a student tell me that my hard work is worth it just…I’m just happy.

2. This semester, I decided to use Cinderella stories as the basis for the research class. It has been…interesting. Anyway, I gave the students a choice of three Cinderella novels to read: Cinder by Marissa MeyerAsh by Malindo Lo, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

one of the book choices

one of the book choices

One student told me that he was so glad I made them read a novel because he likes reading in a general sort of way but doesn’t really make time for it or know what to read. But, because he read Cinder, it reminded him how much he likes reading and he also told his girlfriend to read it so they can discuss it. Oh, and also, he plans to read the whole series. THE WHOLE SERIES.

My heart grew three sizes that day.

Also, during the in class discussion of the novels, another student (a boy, btw) told the whole class they needed to read Ash, and they really missed out if they picked a different book. He seemed to be really enamored of the Huntress (he kept calling her a “bad chick”) and liked the different take on the story.

So this was a nice reminder to always require a novel, basically.

3. One of the papers for the research course was for my students to write their own Cinderella story. I have finished grading one set, and I cannot tell you how fun and imaginative their stories are. My favorites so far are about a math function that couldn’t be solved (based on a true story!), a DJ who just wants a shot, and a filly who wants to enter a big race. THEY ARE ADORABLE.


They’re magical is what I’m saying. )source)

Also, my daughter was in the room with me when I was grading, and she kept telling me to stop getting so involved with the stories because I would gasp or say, “Oh no!” or “That’s awful!” as I was reading about how their main characters were mistreated. So that part of grading is fun, at least. Um, not the mistreated main characters but reading my students’ stories. Just to be clear.

Maybe next time I’ll talk a little bit about why I’m grateful for Alicia Keys. I mean, it’s a real thing that’s happening in my life, so.



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  1. Ally Bean

    Your first gratitude is delightful. I remember the teacher who convinced me I could write. She presented her homework assignment information clearly like you do, and used a writing catchphrase: “be specific.” Just a bit of encouragement can go so far. Also, love the idea of re-writing Cinderella. I need to think on that and perhaps do it myself for fun.

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Oh my God, your students’ stories sound wonderful! My brother-in-law teaches high school English, and he does a thing once a year where his students each have to pick a character from any media and write a profile of that character; and then he puts all the characters into a bracket, matches them up with each other, and has the students write a fight scene where their character wins over the other person’s. He picks a winner from each match-up and continues the bracket, and kids keep writing their stories for prizes or bonus points, and it’s THE BEST THING.

    It’s also so awesome that your student appreciated your assignment design. Yay you!!

    • Akilah

      That is amazing. Maybe I’ll do that next semester in my creative writing class. I just need to figure out a way to make it work for college.

  3. Brendon

    It was heartwarming to read this post. Thank you for sharing these three wonderful moments of gratitude.


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