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Education Consultant

I love this idea, and I love

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I love this idea, and I love that it focuses on one object. I truly believe that when given this type of open-ended writing constraint (sounds like an oxymoron, I know) students can really thrive. They have something to focus their ideas on and center their writing around, yet they still have the freedom to write creatively and express themselves freely. I may even give this a try. It sounds like an interesting idea to take 30 minutes out of each day and lend it to the power of creativity and observation.

Thanks for posting!

Thank you so much for posting

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Thank you so much for posting this blog! I really like the idea of giving your students an object to write about and letting them go. Many students struggle with writing because they do not know how to start. I believe giving them an object to work with as a prompt for their writing could help them create a wonderful story.

You're right, Kristal, a word bank would help younger students broaden their writing abilities. Thank you so much for sharing!

Teacher, Writer, and Artist

You're Welcome!

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Thanks so much, Kerri ... and I can't wait for the Fridays ahead. The first week will be a little cranky, but then I know we'll get into that wonderful routine that really does work! I enjoy your thoughts, too!

Todd

Writing program administrator in eastern North Carolina

reply to Michael

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Hi Michael,

What a cool idea the uniforms as a prompt is! I could see this working across the disciplines in some amazing ways. The violins sound interesting also. I find myself wanting to write about one now! Thanks for the ideas!

Writing program administrator in eastern North Carolina

reply to Kristal

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Hi Kristal,

I love the idea of writing with your students during this activity. This can provide an opportunity for them to get to know you in a new/different way as a person and as a teacher-writer. How cool! I would love to hear how it works out.

Best of luck!

Writing program administrator in eastern North Carolina

reply to Maryann

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Hi Maryann,

I love it when timing works out, as if Edutopia is omnipotent. :) One of my favorite resources for writing ideas is The Writer's Workout Book: 113 Stretches Toward Better Prose. (It is a NWP publication.) It has great ideas that are classroom ready. If you are interested, you can learn more about it at this link:

http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/books/workout

Writing program administrator in eastern North Carolina

reply to The Dixie Diarist

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Hi DD,

I really like the idea of how you got your students into the routine of writing. While that routine is so important for all of us, it is often hard to get into. I also love that Friday evolved into your students proudest day of the week. That makes me tear up a little bit! :)

Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences!

Writing program administrator in eastern North Carolina

reply to Garreth

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Hi Garreth,

I love the points that you made about the practice of mindful observation of detail being a valuable skill across the disciplines and object-writing as a method of encouraging self-motivated inquiry. I am also looking forward to reading the article you offered. Thank you!

Tangible Teaching

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A thorough overview of the process. Thanks for the detail. Aside from the creative writing that can easily stem from such observations, this activity engages the student in mindful observation of detail that undergirds so many of the sciences and humanities.

Beyond this, we could also look to the manner in which using objects can more easily spur the inquisitive mind and give us a method for teaching students how to investigate objects, ask questions about them, and literally teach themselves. I'd like to recommend an essay by John H. Smith called, "Teaching Yourself to Teach with Objects." http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic862568.files/Supplementary%20...

Teacher, Writer, and Artist

RUNNERS RUN. WRITERS WRITE. KIDS COMPLAIN, THEN THEY WRITE.

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I taught a workshop at the conference to a room of teachers about how I got a bunch of unmotivated and uninterested and nearly illiterate kids to write stories and essays. To write something every week by Friday.

I told them I borrowed this one from the working world, especially the newspaper news room: Every Monday the kids got a fun subject to write about, a low word count, the opportunity to be edited by me, and then I would read their work, out loud, in my goofy announcer voices, to everybody else every Friday. My God, did it work.

The first couple of Fridays were horrifying to the students, but then they finally got whacked each week by a sense of pride and Fridays became the most looked-forward-to day of the week. Not because it was the last day of the week. It became the proudest day of the week because they learned that hard work and a dedicated routine always has a payoff. When you see emotionally fragile kids pat each other on the back—literally pat each other on the back—because they liked each other’s stories, it’s hard not to get teary-eyed right in front of them. Every Friday.

www.adixiediary.com

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