Finally Writing Again…

So I can’t believe that I’m already  in week 3 of our school year! Overall, it has been a pretty smooth start. I feel like I have a great group of students and I’m really excited to see them grow and transform this year.

The first unit for writing workshop is on personal narratives. I like to model with some of my own personal narrative writing.  One of the strategies I give them to generate a topic is to think of a “turning point” in their life and write about it. Well, I don’t know why I’ve never wrote about this before, but a big turning point for me was the first time I ever went ice skating. This happened in second grade. Since then, the ice and I have been inseparable.  It felt quite nice to be writing again!  So here’s my slice of life entry for today…

I struggled to tighten the worn out laces against the hard leather that my foot was securely tucked into. I could barely wiggle my eight-year-old toes inside the old rental skates. I tried to get up and balance all of my weight on the thin silver metal blades. I felt like I was on stilts. I put on my cozy wool mittens that my grandmother had knitted me and started to walk towards the ice. As I saw people young and old zooming by on ice skates, I felt my heart beating harder and harder. I had one more step until my blade would reach the ice. I carefully put one foot on the ice and the other foot just followed. I grabbed tightly to the railing with both hands clutching on.

My friend Han was already on the ice, urging me to hurry up and get on. His mom followed us onto the ice, encouraging me to walk slowly and keep balanced. I felt like a robot, slowly putting one skate in front of the other as I marched forward. I didn’t dare to let go of the wall, which was keeping me safe and secure.  I was doing well. I was already three quarters around the ice and hadn’t become a casualty of the ice like the other people around me. I kept my system of putting one foot ahead of the other.

My friend Han raced ahead of me, he had already been ice-skating a few times before with his mom. He smiled mischievously every time he zoomed passed me.  His mom continued to check up on me. I could barely look at her, as I focused on my feet and the wall that was next to me.

Thirty minutes later, I had finally made it around the rink five times, only falling once. I felt so proud of myself.  I wasn’t doing so badly for my first time ice-skating.  I rested on the hard blue bench outside the skating rink sipping the piping hot chocolate that burned my tongue, but I didn’t care. My body was still in one piece. I watched for the first time ever, the Zamboni car cleaning the ice like magic.

“Why don’t we try to skate away from the wall this time?” Han’s mother gently suggested.

I didn’t respond, and just looked at her blankly.  There was no way I could do that. I didn’t want to go home with a broken arm or leg. The ice was way too hard, and I wasn’t ready for that. This was my first time on the ice and I needed the wall.

“Ok, maybe after a few more times around the rink then you can give it a try?” She responded.

“Yeah, stop being such a chicken Jee Young. It’s not fun when you’re holding against the wall,” replied Han.

I wondered why I was still friends with him. Friends were suppose to encourage you and not tease you. The rink guards went back onto the newly surfaced ice, they put the orange cones in the middle of the rink, creating an oval for the good skaters. I saw the skaters rush onto the ice and just stared. It was so warm inside, but did I really want to get back on the cold ice?

I saw a girl who didn’t look much older than me wearing thick skin colored tights, a black spandex skating dress  get onto the ice. She immediately went to the middle of the rink and started doing crossovers backwards. As she quickly sped across the ice and did a spin in the middle, I felt a twinge of jealousy.

I slowly made my way towards the gate of the skating rink, once the crowd of people had disappeared onto the ice already. I grabbed tightly to the side of the wall and continued my journey forward. All of a sudden, Han’s mom, grabbed one of my hands. I tried to stop, but her momentum kept me going forward and I lost all control. My feet started to move automatically as she quickly skated across the ice and I held on tightly. 

The incredible speed, the wind in my face, and the smooth ice gliding underneath, I felt like I was flying. We raced around the rink and my feet somehow just followed my body. I held tightly to Han’s mom.  I didn’t want this moment to stop. I felt free. 

Watching Yuna Kim @ her ice show last spring!

For more slice of life entries, go to Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday.

10 thoughts on “Finally Writing Again…

  1. Mrs. V says:

    I loved the rich description that you included in your slice to help me really picture what your feelings were through this experience. What a great mentor text for your students!

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Wonderful that you did this with your students. It’s such a good story, full of all life’s tensions of a little girl wanting to do better. Han’s mother was very wise, & gave you a gift. I like the way you ‘turned’ the story at the end.

  3. Nuree says:

    love it! especially because I never knew this story. so awesome that Han’s mom got you to feel that rush. but, oh Han! 🙂

  4. Deb Day says:

    What a great slice. I never did learn to stay upright on ice skates, so I am jealous that your friend’s mom gave you that experience of flying across the ice. And this is a great piece to share with students–great word choice and description….

  5. elsie says:

    What a great story to share with us (and your kids). As I read I was able to make connections to my roller skating experience. Your students are lucky to have such a strong mentor.

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