September 7, 2016

Making Something out of Nothing at All

This was day three of class and our CI ship has now officially left the harbor and is chugging merrily into the Sea of Imagination and Art.

I originally thought that I would do a One Word Image (Thanks to Ben Slavic, I have had a lot of coaching and practice on this powerful strategy he invented) with just my second-year French class who had CI all last year with me.  I didn’t think the others were ready.  I had loosely planned in my mind to continue a sort of “Extended Class Discussion” with the other classes, like I did yesterday (and recorded in sixth period), because I was not sure that the others were ready to take the leap.  But it was so much fun in French 2 that I could not resist taking the other classes’ ships out of the harbor as well.  And you know what?  I thought it was lots of fun and totally worth the trip.  In French 2, we created a tiny béret, in French 1, a big hot pink nose, and in my three Spanish classes, a giant rainbow-colored spork, a very large pair of rainbow-colored glasses, and a huge purple burrito.

Over the summer, watching Ben and working with so many OWIs in so many different contexts, I came to understand the sense of physicality that needs to accompany a One Word Image.  As the teacher, my job is to channel imagination into the physical realm.  The first step in getting imaginations to fire can be telling the class in English (our L1) that we are going to create something with our imaginations, and show them the physical space that the object will occupy.  Then, once the object is placed there, I committed to it, looking at it with admiration, astonishment, stepping around it, talking and pointing at it as if I could see it in front of me.  I was trying to bring this object, that was created by the community, INTO the community’s space.




This entry was posted in Beginning the Year, Images/Artwork, One Word Image on by .

About Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

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