Opening With Lessons
in creativity, writing,
& Public Speaking
I kicked off September by having all my students create colorful, mind-mapped "ID Cards."
It's an attractive exercise for students because it's fun, introspective, and new. It also happens to be a perfect way to introduce my classes to some of the fundamental lessons I hope they learn during our time together.
I give them "workshop time" in class to start them, encourage them to do first drafts in their notebooks (gotta teach the layering process!), and ask them to finish them within three days.
When they all have their ID cards ready, I lead them in a whip around the room. Each and every student must explain a bit about the topics on their cards. (Plus, I intro my public speaking lessons!)
I think it proves true what John Steinbeck wrote in The Pearl: "Every man in the world functions to the best of his ability, and no one does less than his best, no matter what he may think about it."
How would I grade it anyway? I've worked hard to encourage and teach art-making without grading the work. That's why I've developed my two-tier evaluation system: Creative work is labelled either "edited" or "final."
"Edited" work must be revised, polished, and re-submitted.
In the spring students add them to their portfolios.
Students had to pre-write what they would say in the whip and be sure to experiment with parallelisms.
It's one thing to teach them parallel structure and all the finer grammatical points that entails.
It's a whole other ballgame to ask them to APPLY the lessons by writing about themselves.
The parallel structure unit ends with pupils constructing "Facebook Updates" to practice what they've learned.
After parallel structure, I take my AP classes into lessons on sentence variety and rhetorical devices like anaphora, antithesis, and chiasmus.
I teach more than creativity!!! I love to instruct on the finer points of the sentence -- which leads to the paragraph and the essay and the research paper.
For more on how I teach "The Essay" click here:)!