An Awareness Tool ~ SOL #2 ~ 2018

My Quick Diary of the Day

“I can’t think of anything to write,” is a continuous phrase I not only hear from students, but it also happens to myself if I’m honest. (However, the opposite is the case more often as I have so many things I want to write about that I have issues choosing.) When we know we have to produce writing every day, activating our awareness is pretty important and sometimes we need tools to help us develop a lens of what to look for.

I was introduced to Lynda Barry a few years ago by Austin Kleon on Twitter. In her book, Syllabus, she teaches her students how to create a Quick Diary page each day to keep track the happenings of the day. While I don’t do this every day, I probably do it once a week or when I just want to get something in my notebook for that day. I revised Lynda’s format a little – because its my notebook and I can do whatever I want in there. I’m pretty adamant about that.

unnamedLynda Barry's Quick Diary

 

So, I chose a nugget from yesterday’s Quick Diary entry to do a quick narrative for today.

In a sketch.

Because you can tell a narrative in a little sketch – and possibly tell the story better.

(And quicker – do you see a theme here?)

my problem with peanut butter Reeses eggs

My sugar problems are also a theme in my notebooks.

Shari ūüôā

I’m participating in twowritingteachers March Challenge of posting a blog post every day for the month of March.  To check out other writers, visit here.

 

Rethinking Readers Notebooks #SOL16

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Books and people inspire me to rethink the practices I hold on to in my reading and writing workshops. The Readers Notebook is a tool my students and I use that I do not think I will ever let go of.  However, my thinking is changing on how to best use this tool.

Last year, I discovered that most of the third graders in my classroom were extremely creative.  They loved to draw.  So, I taught them how to Zentangle.  We scoured You Tube videos and Pinterest on our ipads to find new patterns to learn and practice. We made anchor charts of the designs we wanted to remember.

I then realized that we are all, including myself, are drawn to visual learning.

I wanted some of that in my Readers Notebooks.

My burning question became:

“How can I make the Readers Notebooks more engaging, user-friendly and fun? ¬†And, enhance our learning at the same time?”

My third graders were not always that excited about writing down their thoughts in the notebook at the end of our reading workshop Рif only for 5 minutes.  They worked diligently on their weekly letters to me Рbut honestly, they were doing this for me.

We looked at other options to share their evidence of understandings from the books they read. ¬†Fountas and Pinnell’s Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency suggests many ways to teach students to do this, of course, each strategy needs to be explicitly modeled first. ¬†A few ideas are: webs, character trait charts, chapter summary grids, T-charts, etc. ¬†We added these to our repertoire of options, yet I still did not see the enthusiasm I wished for.

But this summer, I followed Debby Ridpath Ohi ¬†(@inkyelbows on Twitter) and anxiously awaited her visual displays of the books she was reading for Donalyn Miller’s Book A day Challenge. ¬†I’d read some of the books she shared, so I was excited to see what elements she decided to jot down and put on the page. ¬†Here are some of her examples:

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and. . .

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Here are some things Debbie did:

*She added an image of the book and the author.  Visual Stuff. Artsy. A collage kind of thing. I like this because I art journal and cutting and glueing and arranging things on paper are a love of mine.

*She adds what she’d like to find out more about by going to an author’s blog. She notes the blog.

*She drew a few sketches about how the book changed her life – just one thing!

Another inspirationalist I follow on Twitter is Leah O’ Donnell. ¬†Oh, I can’t keep up with this lady! ¬†I sizzle with energy every time I see what she is up to. She also does some doodling of the books she reads. ¬†Here are a couple of examples:

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What did Leah do?

*She lifted quotes from the book that she felt were important.

*She wrote down some questions that prompted her to think more deeply about her own life.

*She added some of her own thoughts about the book.

*Of course, she added her own little doodles and sketches and used lots of color.

I’ve also been following a few people who post their visual sketchnotes¬†on Twitter under the hashtag #sketchnotes.¬† The Doodle Revolution¬†by Sunni Brown and One Zentangle A Day books have also ¬†influenced me here – just a bit. ¬†And if you have time, you have to take a field trip to The Sketchnote Army¬†and ¬†Brain Doodles.

“Could I do this? Could I integrate this into our Readers Notebooks?” I wondered.

Surely, it’s been done in some shape or form. ¬†But, I wondered what it might look like in third grade – the integrating of doodles, zentangles, collage and words to share our understandings about the books we read.

Now, you may be thinking, as I often do,

“But, I don’t want my kids spending so much time drawing and wasting time doodling. ¬†They need to be reading and writing!”

This kind of work supports so many standards and best practices about teaching, I can’t even begin to list them all. ¬†But, I have to, because I am a “Why should I do this?” and “Where is the research in this?” kind of ¬†person. ¬†We need to know our “Whys”. ¬†Our practice purposes can never be, “Because the kids like it,” or “It’s the new shiny sparkly thing.” Even though the kids probably will like it and ultimately that’s what we hope to achieve.

Here are a couple of Big Why’s:

  1. ¬†“A doodler is engaging in a deep and necessary information processing. A doodler is connecting neurological pathways with previously disconnected pathways. ¬†A doodler is concentrating intently, sifting through information, conscious and otherwise generating insights.” ~Sonni Brown¬†The Doodle Revolution
  2. “By using repetitive patterns with deliberate strokes, one becomes engrossed in each stroke and a shift of focus, a heightened awareness in which your mind, instincts, and knowledge all work together ¬†quickly, effortlessly and accurately can occur.” ~Roberts and Thomas (the orgins of Zentangle)¬†One Zentangle A Day by Beckah Krahula

If you want to read more research, go here, or here (under Research Links).  And, here are some visual literacy standards on Edutopia.

And, if you’d like a visual:

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from page 17 of The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown.

A personal thought is also that we rush kids through books and do not give them enough time to let a book marinate in their souls long enough. We need to let books linger for a while, just like soup. ¬†It always tastes better after it’s been simmering all day. ¬†New thoughts and ideas keep bubbling up the longer we allow a book to stay with us.

Like anything new we teach to students, we’d need to start small and with what students already know. ¬†I’m thinking we’ll do some visual notes on a couple of class read alouds first and go from there – adding various doodles and sketch note strategies little by little. Or perhaps they could do a visual page of who they are, an identy project to help us all learn more about one another. ¬†However we choose to introduce this, anchor charts will be a must.

And most importantly, if we are expecting our kids to do it, we need to walk the walk alongside of them, and do it as well.

So, I had a go. . .

Here are a couple of my attempts from some of my summer reads:

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I knew I could do better. . .

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Oh yes ~~~~ this one was much more fun. ūüôā

The possiblities are endless here.  And, I love to live in a classroom where anything is possible.

Shari ūüôā

Doodle Revolution #sol16

I’m in a little bit of a doodle frenzy lately.

The Doodle Revolution arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago and I’m kinda hooked on doodling my to-do lists, school notes, and reflections on my day. ¬†It seems the visuals stick in my head a little more than just written text.

So, this morning, I doodled a flow chart doodle of how I would LIKE my day to go Рof course this is all speculation and open to diversions.  Like lesson plans, we must leave room for intuitive moments of flow that nudge us down a different path.  As enjoyable as side trips are, eventually, we need to get back on course in order to accomplish what we intend to accomplish.

After reflecting on my intended plans for the day, I probably would have had time to complete all of my tasks, but, the house was quiet, so my bed called me over for a nap (I forgot to draw that in – it’s really not a productive event though). ¬†I also got lost commenting on Slice of Life stories for a tad bit of time (so many inspirational pieces out there). ¬†Oh, and I researched Donald ¬†Trump for a bit to affirm my belief of why he should not be president. (This was easy work.) ¬†I also spent some time digging around for snacks and trying to decide if I should bake something but I didn’t because I figured I’d eat it all because no one else is home. ¬†So, I ate chocolate chips.

Sigh. Smile.

Life is good.