...Or, How I Became an Object Lesson on Scissor Safety for My Own Students.
Since I am attempting to have a more workshop-oriented writing program this year, I do minilessons with my students in which I teach something and demonstrate it in my own writing project.
The students are writing personal narratives, and we've been going through the process of revising and adding to a story. I wanted to pick a high-interest narrative for my minilessons, one that would also allow for plenty of revision.
So I am telling the true story of the scissors monster. When I was about four years old, I had a shirt and short set I really and truly did not like. The shirt was a chenille tank top with horizontal pastel stripes. I don't really remember why I loathed this shirt; it was probably itchy, but I like to think that I rejected it because it failed to meet with my already developed notion of taste and style.
Anyway, it was also the only errand-appropriate hot weather outfit I had at the time, and it was reliably clean since I wore it only under duress. The day came when I was forced to wear it, and no amount of slumping, laying helplessly on the floor, pouty face, or stamping around was getting me out of it.
Alas, my mother got on the phone before we left to run errands. Even worse, she left her sewing basket within my reach. Already, my love of scissors was well-established; any number of important documents, harmless pieces of twine, and stuffed animals needing emergency abdominal surgery and/or amputation had been improved upon through the application of whichever household shears were left where I could get at them.
It took me less than a minute to liberate her sewing scissors (and her pinking shears, just in case) and cut the straps of my shirt. Of course, straps are easily repaired, so I decided to complete my work by adding some holes. Since it not occur to me to remove my shirt before improving it, this was a little dicey and took extra care, which is probably why I realized that two appropriately-placed holes would turn a revolting shirt into an awesome monster mask, complete with strap antennae.
So once the holes were cut, I pulled the shirt into position, tossed the scissors on the floor, and let myself out of the house to run up and down the block, half-naked and making monster noises.
Translated into four pages and about seven sentences, this is the narrative I am writing. Despite having told the complete version only once, my students are more excited to revise this story and add more than I am and have all kinds of suggestions. And when my Resident teacher introduced a phonics reader that includes the line "To cut is fun, but not my rug!", to a one the class turned and looked at me.
Plus side, no one has felt the need to re-enact this story in their own lives; they see it as more a moral tale of woe to be avoided. In fact, scissor protocols have been if anything more closely followed since they learned of my youthful exploits.