Saturday, September 7, 2013

One of these things is not like the other: Notebooks with pictures: hmmm

You might remember the song from Sesame Street.. 
One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Recently, one of my kids posted this photo of a mostly likely mutant ear of corn waiting patiently, alongside its tall and perfect friend and its a little bit chubby but more normal neighbor.  The pic certainly put a smile on my face because, frankly, it was a glimpse of their daily life!  (moms are like that
But later, the teacher in me, the one reflecting on making all our children college and career ready, the one thinking about making learning meaningful and real for all kids, the one thinking about using photos to spur thinking in all of our writing notebooks could not let the picture slip quietly into cyberspace!
I was thinking about all the writing this single photo might spur...
Perhaps a story about three children: one tall, perfect, one short, squat, one with special needs..
Perhaps a story about how the corn in the field talked to each other and compared their looks..
Perhaps a story about how corn grows (need some research for this informational text)..
Perhaps a story about how these ears of corn travel to Sesame Street and get on TV..
The uptake on all this thinking is this:
We really should consider having kids bring in pictures of their adventures including the unusual things they notice and see in their daily lives.  I am thinking of this as a yearlong project of collecting ideas visually - not just decorating our writers notebooks!  While our writers' notebooks filled with jots and thoughts and ideas are the fuel of our writing, in the 21st Century, it might just be time to add more pictures and more visual images, including newspaper clippings, to our notebooks to fuel those memories and merge the very visual world of our youth with the writing world where we want them to live and grow. 
So, remember when you post a photo,
Of a mutant ear of corn,
It might spur memories of times long ago,
Or reflection from which an idea is born!  



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