Igniting the Spark…

Sometimes, all it takes is a name in a newspaper, a whiff of a scent, or maybe a book list to get your mind working out. It starts as some inspiration, then maybe it turns into brisk walk, a jog. The next thing you know you’re racing around the track, and you wonder how you’d even stopped running.

All it takes is a spark to get the mind running and the imagination creating a writing masterpiece. For me today, this spark was a book list, in which I found the book title The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. It sparked in me a delicious memory, a lovely nostalgia, which felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me.

I’d read this book in 7th grade, as a personal recommendation from my teacher, Mr. Bell. He remains to this day my favorite teacher. He cared about, catered to, and inspired every single student in his classroom. One day, Mr. Bell pulled The House on Mango Street off of his leisure reading bookshelf, looked at it with a warm smile, and then said to me, “I think you’ll like this one.” Simple as it was, that was all it took. This was a book personally recommended to me that I would like. Not only did I like it, I LOVED it…so much so that a copy of the book still has its spot on my bookshelf at home.

That being said, I can’t wait to bring it up to State College, as I am going to build a lesson around it for my class. If the memories were the brisk walk, the internet surfing that these memories spurred on certainly became the jogging and the racing. I came across webenglishteacher.com, a site which provided me with many tools, lesson plans, and ideas to use for Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street.

My mind was racing as I came across a creative writing project idea that I know I would have been excited about as a student. Students would create a book, much like Cisneros’s, which let people know who they are and where they come from in a creative form. This book would give students access to a writing playground, in which they can imagine, create, and play with their ideas and their memories. The lesson plan gives students the opportunity to explore their past and their identity and construct in in an organized, creative fashion. With this project, students can discover and design themselves.

Who wouldn’t get excited about that? Even if it’s just for a second, there was a spark. And sparks mean that another spark can occur, and another, until a full fledged fire of imagination appears. Certainly I don’t want parental uproar for setting fire to my classroom of students, but something tells me parents might actually be okay with me initiating this kind of fire…


4 thoughts on “Igniting the Spark…

  1. tommiannchurch says:

    First of all, Heather, you are a wonderful writer. I enjoy your style and think you could have a future in book reviewing (a summer job, of course, so that you can inspire young minds September through May!) I’m so thrilled to hear of another future English teacher who is ecstatic about Creative Writing. Okay, so you didn’t say you were “ecstatic,” but I am, and I’m getting that vibe from your blog, too. I really want to be in your middle school classroom right now. I’ve always loved creative writing and can’t wait to be the teacher who encourages it!

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