I have taken a few art classes. In art, perspective is important and obvious to the eye. One of my favorite artists is Georgia O’Keefe. A series of her paintings focuses in on the center of a flower. Looking closely changes the perspective. Seeing the center without white space to guide your eye makes the image more focused.
My school year ended ten days ago. This period of time I have worked hard to relax and be present. I have actually avoided thinking at all about school. However, teaching is never far from my radar.
Today, I can see more clearly the white space. I understand the structure of my year and have some perspective on things.
At the center of focus is always literacy. Writing is an important component in my class. We wrote daily about our lives, about our reading, sprinkled with poetry.
But as I look forward and begin to shift my perspective to the horizon line, I see where my focus should be next year. I will have the same students. In many ways this makes the transition to a new grade level much smoother. They know what to expect. They know me.
Because of this, I will have to be intentional about changes and make them happen early on. I am reading Katherine Bomer’s book, The Journey is Everything. The intended audience is teachers of middle grades 6-8. The highest grade I teach is 6th, but I can see ways to incorporate her ideas in my lower grades as well.
While we need to pay attention to structure in the essay, that is not the purpose. I will continue using blogs as the main format for writing. A few points of perspective their writing will take are 1. writing to discover and 2. writing to explore language.
I want to be more aware of my students’ perspectives and allow them to discover them safely in our classroom. When we focus on the single poppy in the field, we can see more clearly the unique individual. We can honor their voices and work toward developing authentic, valuable writing.
In order to prepare to teach essay differently, I am experimenting with my own writing. I am trying out “writing for discovery” and “exploring language” with more intention in my blogging.
Perspective as a writer gives me a clearer lens for teaching writing.
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