Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Slicing and Seeing

Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy for this Tuesday Slice of Life!  
Tweet at #sol15

        Whenever I discover the chance, I like to emphasize that writing and reading involves lots, LOTS, of visualizing. Sometimes I find that students don't exactly understand. Some students through the years have been surprised to learn that when others read, they imagine the scenes, the characters, the action. They plod along, understanding much of a plot, but really don't appear to have the facility (or have never developed) the making of pictures in one's mind. I "imagine" that many of you have lessons in your repertoire that you use to help students visualize what they're reading, which also aids them in improved comprehension, prediction, and connections. I have a few, too. 



           This time, I want to share something that we're doing this week that's both fun and practice in visualizing, an art lesson too. I collect old books, not those wonderful ones I want to keep, but books that are no longer useful, but will be thrown away if I don't keep them. This time, I chose three textbook-sized books, two history and one environmental book about trees. The assignment is simple, open the chosen book at random, cut a page out with an X-Acto knife, sit and read it, using some part,  or most of the content, and illustrate right on the page.  My students have hours of work time in class to choose whatever assignments they wish to do within the time. Most went right for the books. I had already done one page, set a few parameters, and watched them visualize. It was magical! We spoke of ways that might be challenging to 'draw', and thought words "drawn" would work well as long as there was also a picture. It was also a thoughtful exercise of how to translate an abstract concept into something to "see". Is imagination and placing a picture in the mind's eye critical thinking? I think so, and this reading/art/imagination exercise was rewarding and full of learning. Here's mine.


38 comments:

  1. What a neat idea. I use to read a descriptive passage from "Wicked" to my students and then have them draw what they heard. It was always interesting to see which parts of the passage the different students focused on.

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    1. This is a great idea. I've usually used poems before, but never like the random pages. I'm glad you shared about the Wicked piece, too.

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  2. What a great idea! This would be great way for us to tie art into the curriculum. It would even be fun to take the same passage and see the different ways the students visualize it. Thanks for sharing this - I am glad you are back in the classroom!

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    1. Thanks Leigh Anne, for for the tweet, too! Yes, like Arjeha above, using the same passage would be interesting too.

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  3. Great lesson, Linda. Very concrete way to make the connection between the words on the page and the images in our mind.

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    1. Thanks, and the discussion later helps the learning too.

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  4. This is just brilliant, Linda - and a function of the type of environment your school allows both teachers and students to think and create in authentic ways. I'll have to find the time to try this!

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    1. Hope you do, Tara, and let me know how it goes. It's been much fun to see what students create.

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  5. Thanks for this idea Linda. It is so important that we teach kids to create sensory images as they read. Chris Lehman talks about the role of sketching in note taking in his book Energize. I think it helps kids to think about what the text means.

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    1. I believe the consistent field work and journaling we do also helps students feel comfortable giving this time and effort. And the visual is an important part of the thinking done in nearly every area.

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  6. You always have the most innovative ideas for lessons. I see lots of ways to use this idea. Thanks for planting the seed.

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    1. Thanks, Elsie. I hope you'll share with others that you work with.

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  7. Having the visual on the actual text makes the visualizing practice somehow more impressive than having the two separately. I am a big fan of "artsy with old pages." Mostly because it gives a new life to a discarded text.

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    1. Yes, some students shared other ways to alter books that they've seen. There are some amazing things being created from discarded books. Thanks, Terje!

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  8. Oh my gosh, Linda! You don't know how happy this post makes me. My high school students are about to embark on an altered book experience where they will analyze poetry, illustrate and write on pages just as your students did. I am planning to introduce them to artists and art concepts and give them choice in using art concepts to connect to and analyze poetry. Love that you posted this today. Thank you!

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    1. Sounds fabulous, Lee Ann. I did altered books with students some years ago, & students loved the doing & learned so much. Thanks for sharing with me, too.

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  9. What a great way to encourage visualizing! Art with the text is wonderful reinforcement.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley. I imagine you could create some of your own wonderful art this way.

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  10. What a great idea! I have to keep this in mind for a little later his semester.

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    1. Your students would love the interpretation of an English text, or wouldn't it be great for them to find a page in their own language to render artistically? Thanks, Jaana!

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  11. I am in love with this idea! Immediately, I'm thinking of poetry for first graders! Wouldn't that be amazing to have old poetry books that we could read from...ooh...my brain is going now! Thanks for sharing such an amazing idea!

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    1. Poetry from the half price book store! Or nonfiction text too... Still thinking!

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    2. Yes, it would work I'm sure, Kendra. There are often used poetry books available. I hope you share if you do try.

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  12. What a wonderful experience for your students, Linda, and what a GREAT use for old books. I'm never happy to retire books, but this doesn't feel as awful as passing them along to a recycler. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Melanie, I hate to throw books away, too. I've done folded paper projects from old pages, too, but am so excited about this one that includes more interpretation.

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  13. Thanks for this idea. I had a student last year that had a hard time visualizing. I think reading aloud and discussing works well, too. Next time I am at a library sale, I'll think of this lesson.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, I hope you find the lesson helpful, & find a great book to use.

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  14. I am sure the idea of drawing right on the page is exciting, and has a little bit of an outlaw feeling to it for the students! I need to practice more with visualizing, especially allowing the kids to draw. I have a few that would thrive with that, but I haven't used it enough!

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    1. It really seems helpful, Michele. Hope that you find a number of ideas to use! Thank you!

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  15. This is a terrific idea, Linda! I'm always shocked when kids don't visualize, and have tried many strategies over the years to help them, but I can see how engaging this will be. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Yes, even when a student seems to be an avid reader, sometimes they still aren't doing much visualizing. Hope you can try this some time!

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  16. As everyone has said, what a creative and fun idea! Drawing right on the page makes it double the fun!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Hope you can find a use for it in some way!

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  17. OH MY GOSH! I love this. I am so glad you're in the classroom, sharing your brilliance. I'm going up to my local used bookstore to find few books. Excited!!

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    1. Thanks, Julieanne, you make me excited, too! Hope you discover some great books!

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  18. I love this idea! I want to try it with a sixth grade teacher and class I know! Today! Thank you!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!