No, I do not have hero-worship of Neil Gaiman. (Liar.)
Ever have one of those units of study that just globs along in the back of your mind? Well, after reading aloud this week* this thought inspired me: Why not create a mini-unit of writers reading their reading? I am constantly stressing to my students that writing is talking: and they can all do that. We are just beginning to really dig into the writer’s workshop protocols. I was asked two days’ ago what “writer’s workshop” model I use – I didn’t have a prescribed answer. I use the one from the Puget Sound Writing Project, part of the National Writing Project. It’s designed to create, first and foremost, a safe place for writers. I am so comfortable with it, I supposed, because of my fine art’s background. Throwing a painting in progress or sketch up on the wall for your peers to see is risky: I developed my diplomatic critiquing style from these days.
So: I need to throw this idea up on the wall and see if it sticks: Each day for two weeks (yes, there’s an assembly on Friday, earthquake drill, [not taken lightly – we do live in a dangerous geographical area] I will continue to read out loud, and have students listen to other writers reading out loud. We will continue to work on annotating text, and the text will be in conjunction with author’s voices. How would you approach this? Would you have them read the text cold, as a pre-assessment of comprehension, and check for their understanding after they hear the writer? I’m thinking Neil Gaiman reading Instructions would be especially good. (Wonder if I can find a version of him reading Chivalry, one of my favorite short stories? Or should I just put on black T-shirt and speak in a British accent?)
Ultimately, I want them to find their own voices. And since that is the big questions: “What are you trying to say, in your own words?”, they will write and then — speak.
Not quite sure what that rubric should matrix*, though.
What we say and feel doesn’t always fit in a box.
*Comments from students the past few weeks: This class is easy, it’s fun, do we have to go to our next class? I’m not trying to cause divisiveness; I just love reading and writing–dang, I love my job.
*Did I just make matrix into a verb? I am so confused.