by Russ Goerend
The other night I tweeted:
The first step in using writing prompts in our classroom is to find the prompts. I’ve been able to stumble across a few sources and I collect them in an Evernote notebook. That notebook has prompts from Luke Neff, John Spencer, Bud Hunt, and others. I throw some of my own in there and Amy has even created a few.2
I use the prompts those gentlemen create because they have both visuals and a statement or question to provoke thought and curiosity. In a previous post, I broke down one of Luke’s prompts.
When I use a prompt in class, as I tweeted, it’s not a matter of 1) project 2) write. I’ve found that the visually-based prompts we often use can be a bit too abstract for my students.
I project a prompt from my computer and then we go through a two-step process: observe and infer.
First, we observe everything we can about the image. Here’s the photo Bud used today. He also added the caption: Chemistry can be magical.
Because we’ve done it often enough, all I have to do is project the prompt and say, “Observations?” We use the “I see…” format for sharing observations. Students today shared:
- a beaker
- a woman
- a man
- they are wearing lab coats
- there’s a shelf behind them with more glass beakers
- he has a tie on
- they’re trying to create a cure
- they’re going to break something
- it’s an old picture
- it’s a scan (see the corners?)
- though I suspect subs appreciate my specificity [↩]
- I use the notebook for organization, but also because Evernote seems to be rarely blocked in schools while Tumblr often is. [↩]