Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday, July 2

Opening Moment
Danie launched the day with a reading of “Facebook Sonnet” by Sherman Alexie. 

Ten-minute Tech with Brigid - Intro to Edmodo

* Sideline reference to membean, which Joanne tried for the first time with success this year.

Writing Group Time
We scattered about the building in search of a cool refuge—the cafeteria, the sitting lounge, and other tolerable spaces. Some folks wrote furiously; others conferred with their group members.

Writing Outdoors with Brigid
A key idea is that being outside inspires closer observation and awareness. Brigid is a firm believer.

  • Writing enhances noticing. We need to slow down.
  • Take time to attend to the tiny things.
  • Observation prompts inquiry. This is the kind of critical thinking we want all our students to be doing. Good for all disciplines.

Brigid comes to us with a background in environmental education. We briefly discussed the dormant No Child Left Inside Act, a bill still waiting to become a law. It advocates for environmental education as a required part of school curriculum. Nature-deficit disorder - dissociation with natural world contributes to anxiety epidemic today.

- Before we headed outdoors, Brigid shared a beautiful reading from Rachel Carson's A Sense of Wonder. I was especially struck by the phrase "the misty river of the Milky Way." Carson reflects on our complacent neglect of natural wonders, like the night sky: ". . . because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they would never see it." 

- Then we ventured out into the sultry morning. Brigid gave us flags to stake out the spots where we chose to sit and write for fifteen minutes or so, after which then reconvened and visited different locations to hear people's observations and questions.

- Follow-up Discussion:

  • How could the activity be used across curriculum and ages? How would you use it in your classroom?
    • Try it with kindergarteners toward the end of the year, when they're restless.
    • Take them out and ask them to describe the classroom to see what they've noticed sitting there all year.
    • Lucinda has done this in the context of slam poetry, asking kids to go outside and describe one particular thing, and then coming back and playing a guessing game: Where were you?
    • Stephanie uses hoola-hoops to circumscribe a bit of ground for children to study with particular care.
    • CC told about taking kids outside to study the terrain in relation to Hannah Holmes's The Suburban Safari. She has also used a series of observational journal prompts to prime the pump for writing projects.
    • Use it to activate use of the five senses.
  • When and why would you refer back to this activity in your classroom?
    • Refer back to this activity to sensitize students to the importance of setting.
  • How did you personally respond to the activity?
    • Folks loved the activity and look forward to using it with students.
    • Great for observation, questioning, and reflection.
    • Good for restless students who have trouble settling down and focusing. It helps bring us into the present moment.
    • Would also be a nice initial activity to encourage students to be observant all year long.

Book Plug from Rebecca! On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz

Optional Revision Workshop with Rebecca
Check out the wonderful folder of "Revision Resources" posted on the ISFI file in Google Drive!

Book Discussions

Closing Moment
"Midnight on the Water" by Dave Mallett

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