Monday, November 19, 2007

Upside down drawings Monday Nov 19th

Today was a lot of fun. We started out class with a creative writing activity – I was going to have them do another Amnesty letter, but I decided we hadn’t done enough fun creative writing lately. I had them write me a Thanksgiving story – it could be anything, a story, a poem, a newspaper article, etc - from the perspective of a turkey. They all – including my 1st/2nd grade team – came up with some impressive stuff! The 6th grade team in particular took the open ended aspect of the project to heart – some of them wrote letters back to their ‘turkey families’ saying they had survived another Halloween, some wrote from the dead, one wrote a poem, one a rap, and another one wrote a ‘manifesto’ of sorts, threatening doom to the human population if the turkey eating continued. My favorite was a student who wrote about how, as a turkey, she was in the forest and was captured, but thankfully her captures were ‘hippies’ that were vegetarians and brought her to a happy farm.

I also had a meeting with my novel writers – collectively, we are over 150 pages written now, which is way cool. We talked about what is working for us, what things were hard, and what ideas we had to keep going through the month. Some students also said they were upping their goals, pushing to write two pages a day for the rest of the month. I am really surprised by which students took to this project – not the ones I would have expected based on their performance in class and my overall interactions with them, it’s cool to get to know them at a different level/in a different way because of this project. We also talked about making this project into a ‘club’ that could go all year long, something they seemed interested in doing.

We also started the Edwards upside down line drawings today – the student reactions were different. Most embraced it and were excited to see their results, though some got frustrated – its’ a good exercise to teach them to try to overcome their frustrations, to realize they have to let go and not be focused on making everything perfect. It’s the same reason I make a big deal about them not worrying about spelling – we always fix spelling, of course, but many of them use that as a reason to not write at all, and I find I spend a lot of my time, both with our writings and our art, getting them to work beyond their own censorship/frustrations. Excited to see how this all progresses in the next few weeks. Also working to incorporate some lessons that can tie them into the organization in Africa we’ll be working with…

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