I love the garden as an outdoor learning space for students. As you may have read yesterday, we began the process of experimenting with some photography techniques in preparation for some writing today. The PM group was rained out of the garden yesterday, but today was bright and sunny so they were able to catch up and try their hand at using the photography techniques.
Today students selected a photo from the garden, and in the spirit of Ansel Adams, transformed the photo to black and white using a filter in the iPad. This photo along with Eve Merriam’s poem, Peeling an Orange, became the inspiration and mentor text for their own original small poems. Before starting our own poems, we took the time to study Peeling an Orange carefully. We named what we noticed: the use of comparisons (similes and metaphors), the opposition of the words carelessly and meticulously (serendipitously, meticulous had been a vocabulary word earlier this year), the inclusion of sensory use (smell). Then I set a timer (something that I find focuses these third grade writers) for 7 minutes and off they wrote!
We shared a few, noticing the interesting comparisons, the use of strong verbs and other vocabulary and moved to the next step: creating a shared Google slide deck to display the photos and poems. While not everyone finished today, I did ask if students were okay with me sharing some of their writing on my blog. They were excited by the prospect.
Here’s a couple of student examples:
And one of mine (since I always write with students):
I’ve been intentionally prioritizing time for writing–from start to finish–in the classroom, in spite of the short time we have in our hybrid schedule. It is totally worth the time spent–and I am seeing the writing improve when students write in community. I look forward to more time for writing as my students return to the classroom for full days, in one group, beginning in mid-April.