4 more days left until summer break.
I pulled 4 7th-graders to record a small group lesson for some PD for this summer. I chose the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. This was the first experience the 4 students had with the poem which surprised me. Initially, it did not seem familiar to any of the 4 until 3 readings in one girl said she remembered it from our individualized computer program iReady.
We began with a vocabulary QHT chart –
Q is for questions about words
H is for heard of it but do not know the meaning
T is for “I know this word so well I could teach it to someone else”.
I allowed them to read and record words that seemed important to them in some way. Diverged is a word I needed on the chart and they all chose it right away.
We talked about choices and the path that the narrator was trying to decide upon. Then the girls spoke up about the connection to life in general and which paths people choose to take. The students said they thought a lot of people chose the wrong path. Some thought that certain paths were thrust upon people.
The writing the students did was quick but thoughtful after our brief discussion. It is much easier to make an extended response when a list of details about your big idea is either annotated on the poem in front of you or on a list you have created. We did both.
The students all said the narrator wanted to not be a follower and make his own choice which is why he took the road less traveled.
I offered them two poems to take with them: Mary Oliver’s Every Morning and Billy Collins’ Days. Several took the poems for later. That is definitely a smile moment for the writer and reader in me.
We are all confronted with choices every day. Some are trivial and some are life changing.
Do I stop and fill up my tire with air since the sensor went off and be late to work or wait and chance a flat?
Do I eat now or wait till I have more time?
How do I decide what town to move to next?
Some choices we make and some seem to be thrust upon us. As humans, as teachers, as mothers, as spouses we have to make decisions all the time. There are sometimes I need to hear and listen to the inner voices and other times I need to shut them out for my own good and peace of mind. I have been known to overthink situations.
There are times it seems this is more difficult then it should be. Some people are plagued with the fear of making the wrong decision. I always wonder “wrong” according to whom? Cultural norms have more of an influence than I think most of us realize. The trajectory of my life took the path of a whole list of “shoulds” before I changed it.
I heard all my life: I should graduate and I should go to college and I should get married and I should have kids and I should buy the biggest house I can afford and I should, I should , I should…until you reach a point in your life that you have achieved all the goals you thought that you should and it doesn’t match who you are as a person inside. Then huge choices have to be made. Some just stick to the status quo and some make a leap. I made a leap. Although it came with consequences, I have no regrets.
So which road do you take? I guess the answer depends on the day.