Engaging With Paper
“I start with pens and pencils,” says Ms. Furman, 41, who is short and bubbly and devours young-adult novels to stay in touch with students. Her husband teaches eighth grade in the district, and their son and daughter are both students.
At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Furman tries to inspire her students at Aprende Middle School to write, a task she says becomes increasingly difficult when students reach the patently insecure middle-school years.
In one class in 2009 she had them draw a heart on a piece of paper. Inside the heart, she asked them to write the names of things and people dear to them. One girl started to cry, then another, as the class shared their stories.
It was something Ms. Furman doubted would have happened if the students had been using computers.
“There is a connection between the physical hand on the paper and the words on the page,” she said. “It’s intimate.”