Saturday, February 13, 2016

Unusual Digital Prompt

What happens when a digital prompt is offered that makes one pause, reflect, and end up befuddled? Does the observer sit and stare for hours or does the observer take on the perspective of wonderer and start jotting down ideas? As educators, we ask our students to engage in writing prompts that we routinely offer. We have expectations that they will complete the task in a timely fashion but what happens when they are struggling with the writing. Do we provide scaffolds leading all students to the completion of the task?

When faced with Laura Shovan's Day 13 picture prompt of her Found Object Poem Project, I decided to take on the role of the student who is puzzled about the writing task.

Photo submitted by Linda Baie for
Laura Shovan's Found Object Poem Project

I start with a noticing and wondering activity.

Noticings:
  • wood carved animal
  • hole on side
  • sharp, pointed edges
  • wooden quills
Wonderings:
  • Could this be a porcupine?
  • Would someone use this as a decoration?
  • Could it be a napkin ring for an outdoor table setting?
Quick Research:
To build some background knowledge about a porcupine, I search the web for photos and drawings of porcupines. I want to see if the wood carving could be a porcupine. I then search for facts about the animal. National Geographic is an excellent site to discover information, as is Woodland Park Zoo.

Writing:
With some background knowledge about porcupines, I start a draft of a poem.

Prickly Pal
looking at me,
what noticings 
do I see?
  • wooden carving
  • round hole on side
  • sharpened quills
  • big open eyed
Will you join me
for a feast
at my table, 
you woodland beast?
But wait, you are not
a friendly guest
your sharpened edges
would prick my chest.
©CVarsalona, 2016 

Editing, Revising, Rereading:
I edit, revise, and reread orally knowing that this is a first draft that needs refinement but time is up. I place my work in my digital portfolio.

Critiquing:
I welcome comments to improve my writing.