At the TCRWP Summer Reading Institute, Mary taught me one way to comprehend fiction is to chart the emotions of the character onto an Emotional Timeline. I like this strategy and have used it often when reading and teaching reading. Here's my chart made while reading My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada.
Last Saturday, as I ran my first 5K race, I thought of this strategy. Let me be clear - I am not a runner. I grew up swimming and more specifically, swimming backstroke, which allows one to breath easy as one glides through the water. My childhood memory of running is vivid - that annual day where we had to run the 600m for the Presidential Award and I barely finished, all out of breathe.
On Saturday at about the 2 mile mark, I overheard this discussion:
MOM - Come on. We are almost done.
BOY (about age 7) - Running makes me grumpy.
Hearing this made me smile and for the next 1.1 mile I thought about all the ups and downs I was feeling as I ran/walked. At the very moment of hearing this boy, I too felt a little grumpy but I kept moving (notice I did not type "running" for I was just moving at this point in the race!) Then later, after a hot shower and some breakfast, I felt the exact opposite.
Here's my chart of the ups and downs of my first 5K:
Today I am grateful to be alive to support the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Memorial fund - the race raise over $95,000 which will be used to bring high quality prenatal and postnatal care to the economically vulnerable in Arlington County, VA.
Today I am grateful for the students and parents at Discovery ES who cheered me on and the unexpected friends I met along the way. All help me keep going to finish the race.
Today I am grateful for all the hills on this course (no exaggerating, there were MANY!) because without that struggle, I could not know the feeling of joy when running downhill and when crossing the finish line.
Today I am grateful that TCRWP taught me how to read well and how to chart the ups and downs of characters. By understanding character struggles, I can better live my own ups and downs that life brings me.