Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Going Beyond

I am sometimes my worse critic but as I age something has changed. Instead of self flaggelation (no, I really don't literally whip myself), I think of ways of improvement. That involves learning from others. I was in a fifth grade class today. The students had a writing prompt to write. They had to write about a moment when they were alone. Their textbook presented ideas on how to write concisely with detail and vivid images.

I had a brainstorm and wanted to share something outside the text. I wrote on the whiteboard a quote from William Carlos William's poem So Much Depends.

So Much Depends

Upon a White Rooster

Besides a Red Wheelbarrow

Glazed with rain water.

I explained to the students that this poem is so vivid with details and this is what makes good writing. They are to write concisely and make it so vivid that a reader can visualize it.

Then I realized that I overdid it when the paraprofessional led them to the textbook to read the guidelines. When she added her personal experience it seem to make it clearer to the students. The example she presented was about the scent of the ocean and how much her dog loves walking the beach. It was a depiction of the moment when she drives along the Jersey Shore and can open the car's windows to smell the scent of the ocean.

The lesson that I learned today is to know the age level I am teaching. Maybe if I were in a high school English class the example of the poem may have worked.