Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Mash Up of Renew!, Disrupting Thinking, and Auto Draw

In the world of literacy there's lots of talk about providing students with text sets so they can compare and contrast ideas across multiple genres, media, and levels of text complexity. Today, I accidentally stumbled upon a couple of professional titles I now consider "book cousins". These two texts helped me understand the value of synthesis in a fresh way, and thanks to the Wired Educator Podcast, a third modality pushed my thinking even more.

If you haven't had a chance to pick up Shawna Coppola's book, Renew, run to the nearest store and purchase it. Her wit, humor, and insight are helping me outgrow tired teaching practices and rethink how to engage young writers in authentic ways. More importantly, it's a quick, digestible read, and you'll find yourself thinking about the ideas she presents long after you've finished the last chapter.

In the middle of the book, she asks educators to reconsider what it really means to write. She provides some powerful, important quotes by published authors who repeatedly demonstrate that drawing and design are as critical to their process as putting words on a page. She argues that rather than give kids a bunch of outdated graphic organizers, we should teach them how to read like writers and design their own tools for engaging in the writing process. 

Next up — the hottest professional book on Twitter this summer!

Although I preordered this book months in advance, I hadn't had a chance to really sink my teeth into it until I listened to Kylene Beers and Bob Probst during a live FB event. The first thing that caught my attention when I opened this professional title was all the beautiful student photos, colored headings,  and eye-catching tables and charts. All the white space on the pages made it seem less dense, and I loved the snippets of "kid talk" strategically tucked in at just the right time.

Since I've been reading these titles simultaneously, it's no surprise I'm finding connections everywhere. However, it wasn't until I heard Kylene say the words below that I really understood the ideas Shawna Coppola was trying to convey in Ch. 3.
"Writing a book requires that I think about how it looks on the page. The design of the book and the content of the book, for me, develop hand-in-hand." ~Kylene Beers

These books are both disrupting my thinking, and I am excited to share what I'm learning with other teachers. Although my identity as a writer is a bit fragile, I decided to return to this blog and write about the power of reading two seemingly different professional titles side-by-side.

Additionally, my husband recently shared this super cool website called Auto Draw in which you can sketch something with your mouse and it detects the image you are trying to create. 

These books are peeling back layers of my thinking, so I attempted to draw an onion. The first drawing you see is my sad sketch. The second is their interpretation. I can totally see how this tool will empower me to reconsider the intersection of drawing, design, and writing.
I hope fellow educators will pick up these books and allow them to challenge you like they've challenged me. I also hope you'll have a blast playing around on Auto Draw! 

1 comment:

  1. you just might be journaling soon....just saying! Thank you for encouraging me to be a well read, better educator! Love seeing your words, again! Keep writing!