Friday, April 20, 2012

Photos as Writing Prompts

I recently reunited with a former student from my 5th grade classroom who told me "You're the reason I became a writer!"  Wow.  That is actually one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

This little guy really spoke to me this morning and made me want to write about writing....
When I taught 5th grade, my students arrived every morning and saw a large picture projected onto my classroom screen.  Yes, it was with an old-fashioned slide projector; and yes, I actually used Kodak slides.  But the concept of starting your day quietly free-writing appealed to me on so many levels, and I never changed my feelings about  the importance of starting the day writing down ideas.
Today, I usually start the day writing down my to-do list or ideas for blog posts or student projects.  Sometimes I start by writing e-mails.  Nonetheless, I am still writing before the sun comes up.  What are your thoughts about writing at school?
  • School is a place where you will sometimes have quiet thinking time- and that is a skill that must be practiced by students and adults.  
  • Writing down ideas with no fear of being judged or graded or evaluated might just produce some amazing work.   
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. 
  • How can handheld technology such as ipads make this process even better? 

I recommend allowing quiet free-writing time daily- even if it is just five minutes.
Display a picture per day and ask students to journal with no fear.
Discovery Education has great still images- and you can incorporate many other subjects such as Science, History, Civics, etc.