Continuing to use Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading this week I worked with my students on the Aha! Moment in stories. When we find the Aha! we notice that a character realizes something new or has sudden insight and it changes the story. In class, we used some excerpts from Crash by Jerry Spinelli as suggested by the authors of Notice and Note (Beers and Probst). We discussed how the changes in the narrator as a result of his Aha moments helped us figure out the theme. From there I had the students read Leo Tolstoy's "The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson," a very short story with an unmistakable epiphany, a moment of truth that changed the lives of the characters.
Eager to introduce my students to Shirley Jackson, an author who often places the Aha! Moment at the end of the story, we delved into "Charles," the story of an ornery Kindergarten student. It was fun to see the kids reaction at the end of the story when they realize that Laurie, son of the narrator, has made up the character Charles to tell stories of his own troublesome antics. A couple of students actually said, "Aha!" to punctuate the last line of the story.
Today's Gospel Reading has an Aha! moment. In Luke 15:1-32, the Pharisees and Scribes, after watching Jesus for awhile complain, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Aha! Of course he does. So, Jesus kindly tells some parables to help those around him "get it." Jesus, who came for the least and the lost, changes our story. Because more often than not, we are lost, wandering in the far lands away from our heart and our home, seeking comfort where it can't be found. Jesus welcomes us home. When I do come home, tired, frazzled and worse for the wear, I imagine, he says to me. "Come on in girl, and sit down. Welcome home. You are loved. Stay awhile this time. "
This moment should change our story as well. We keep our hearts open, we offer love, we welcome the unlovable as we have been welcomed so many times.