A Southern Summer
When I think back to my childhood summers, I think of magic. I grew up in North Carolina where it was sweltering and sticky, and the humidity was so thick you couldn’t breathe. Now that I’m a Pennsylvanian, I don’t know how I ever survived those fiery summers, but I did have a whole lot of fun doing so. From chasing fireflies barefoot to fishing in the cattail-lined backyard pond, from the joys of riding my purple bike through my yard to wading in a cheap blue kiddie pool filled with the dirt from my feet, I spent the majority of my childhood summers outdoors.
I had barn kittens to play with and white and yellow chickens to feed. There were tall wildflowers to plant and cold vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup to taste. I had fresh cucumbers and big ripe tomatoes for lunch. In addition, I had my mother’s cold sugary sweet tea to quench my thirst from playing basketball outside and big box fans in the windows to cool down my bedroom while the white frilly curtains billowed.
One of my favorite summertime memories is simply reading outside. I have loved to read since first grade, and I devoured books like a kitten laps up milk. I would park myself under a large shade tree. With Niagara Falls-like sweat pouring off my forehead, I would get lost in the world of Matilda, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Boxcar Children, and Nancy Drew. I’d undoubtedly come inside after a little while. Always eaten alive by mosquitos, and wanting some cherry Kool-Aid or iced sweet tea, and retreat to my lavender-painted bedroom. I feel like my love for reading was solidified in those summertime lazy and hypnotic days when I had the time to stretch out, not worry about anything else, and just enjoy a good book.
Summertime meant my teacher-mother was free from school too. It meant freedom for all of us. No early 6 am wake-ups. No rushing around in the evening to do homework, no late after-school meetings and activities, and no stress. I think that’s why teachers and students alike love summer. It’s such a stark contrast to the endless busyness, task-filled long, exhausting days that fill up ten months of our lives. Being in school as a student and now as a teacher, is all-consuming. Summertime is the antithesis. It’s a time to do whatever we want. Perhaps, tackling the to-do list we can’t get to normally. It may be taking a nap, soaking in the pool, or enjoying an iced caramel coffee on the porch…summertime is pure freedom.
Summertime Descriptive Essay Assignment
During the last couple of weeks, I had my students write their own summertime essays. They chose from a variety of prompts, similar to the one above. They had to utilize adjectives, sensory words, personification, similes, and metaphors.
Here is the assignment I gave them. Download it yourself! It contains the assignment sheet, a peer editing checklist, and a rubric. I read my own summertime essay to students. They needed to see what kind of descriptive writing I was looking for.
Hang in there! If you’re still in school, have a coffee on your porch this evening and dream about how close the end of school is.