Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some Teaching Ideas for Writing Classrooms, Part 2

A colleague of mine told me about a writing assignment that produced better results than anticipated. It sounds like the kind of assignment that can be used in a variety of classrooms, so I thought I'd mention it here. Composition, Literature, Creative Writing--Enjoy!

She took her class on a field trip to one of the small, funky museums that we have down here in South Florida. She had them choose one of the pieces of art (and I think they were mostly paintings, mostly representative), and then they wrote a story inspired by the art.

She's teaching a Literature class that focuses on the short story, so her students wrote a short story. And they came up with interesting writing. And since the art wasn't widely known, she thinks that there would be few ways to just buy a ready-made paper off of the Internet.

Of course, you may not live in a town with a museum. Or maybe you do, but you just don't realize it! I've lived in some small southern towns, but most of them had some kind of museum or gallery.

Or maybe you're at a school that doesn't allow field trips. There might be some online sources you could use. Or you could print some pictures and bring them in.

It's hard for me to remember that most people don't walk around with narratives in their head, unlike me, who has so many narratives I'll never live long enough to write them all down. But many students can come up with something if we give them some sort of prompt. Many writing teachers will give a prompt that is written. But that kind of prompt doesn't work for some (most?) of our students--they need something more visual.

Bringing art into the classroom, or bringing the classroom to art, stimulates students in all sorts of new ways--and when we're lucky, we see some good writing to come out of it.

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