The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog,
Seven Days To Go!
This past Thursday and Friday parent-student-teacher conferences were held at school. Those of us who are not core teachers had some time to do some planning and meet informally if we wished. As explained before, students at my school study individual units and are supported in their studies by their core teachers. An additional component is that we have a group of teachers whose job is to take the students on individual field trips that focus on the unit topic. My colleague who writes the blog Prose Cents is one of those teachers. The experiential trips may involve small groups that have similar unit topics, but sometimes only one student can also go on a trip. These teachers are amazing and creative and energetic, dedicated to their work with students, finding resources all over the city to help students learn about their topics ‘in the field’. Trips might be interviews with experts, trips to local museums, airports, restaurants, and businesses. The list of possibilities is endless.
This brings me to a conversation I had with this group about different challenges in literacy because one of them has discovered a new book she’s so excited about. One challenge with all students is to help them improve the capturing of their experiences in their field journals—how to take notes, sketch for visual information needed, i.e. to “tell the story of the trip.” We often have discussed new ways to question, how to question, how to organize on a page, etc. Students practice within their classrooms and on trips.
Looking for new ideas to use for inspiration is a constant. This time, excitement reigned over this book, titled Personal Geographies-Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking, by Jill K. Berry. The introduction explains-We will explore making maps in three areas: maps of your physical self, maps of your experiences and dimensional projects with a cartographic theme. They speak of going on a journey of self, with further explorations that are derived from one’s curiosity. I am reminded of Georgia Heard’s heart mapping, written and explained here by Ruth Ayres. This post contains extra links of information.
The book is filled with journeys called mixed-media map projects that give instructions for artistic techniques, explanations of traditional and contemporary maps for inspiring personal map-making, and tons of contributed personal maps. In the introduction, there is a list of Things To Map that sounds like a list for Slices of Life: a day with your child, a dog’s life, an island you would like to own, your future, a running trail, a grocery store, a special place, etc.
I wish I had time to try this now and take a picture for you, but I don’t. I have family in town and my time is short, but I couldn’t wait to share this wonderful book with you.