Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you know the Permission Man....the Permission Man the Permission Man..

I am on my second day of being a Stay at Home Lady. TRANSLATION: christmas break with the kids. After we all rolled out of bed, we turned on the TV and started watching Temple Grandin.

WOW! That movie directly speaks to autism but to me it also spoke to education.

Temple Grandin said "I am different, not less."

Different is NOT less, but somehow in education we seem to think that changing the traditional norms is less, but is it really?

What makes it okay not to reach all of our students? Isn't that inhumane?

Do we hear their mooing? (This makes a lot more sense if you check out this link) In addition to watching the movie.

I loved watching the passion and persistance that she put into her "squeeze" machine and the redesign of her cattle stockyard receiving gates. She created something and represented something that changed the world.

Aren't all kids capable of this? I look at the interest that my kids had in the story and how it relates to all of us.


What do we perceive? Is what we perceive what is real,what is true or is there another way?

This is where the Permission Man comes in. Waiting for someone to tell us there is another way.

But where are our Temple Grandins in education? Who is going to barge in, headstrong and say... Now...this is what I observe and this is what we need to do!

We need to see what children do and design a school for them. Child driven - Shaped by the Teacher!

Where do children like to sit?

How do children work?

What time frames do they need?

Are we assuming that children work best with short isolated projects or perhaps they would blossum with long range projects?

I am intrigued by the ideas of something different....

"Different is not less."

In fact, I think it is a heck of a lot more.

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are...Meets A Christmas Story

Thanks to Heidi at work for sharing this video of the Christmas Story.

What worked for the Lit Maven?

1. Children telling the story in their own voices.

2. The use of technology to make a story more relatable

3. The music.

4. The costumes were fun and reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are.

5. It was cute!

Until Next Time

Lit Maven Out!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who's Johnny?

Yes…who is Johnny. Where have all the characters gone?

Do you remember when we used to name everything? Dolls, stuffies…and then our cars. Ever ask a kid what their toy’s name is? They will say “Teddy” if it’s a bear, or “Doggy” if it’s a dog.

Circa 1984 I received my first Cabbage Patch Doll. She came with a birth certificate and a pre chosen name. Mine was Geraldine Georgia. I changed it after the adoption became official….

What is the point LIT MAVEN!!!!
Well my point is…where has the discussion of book characters gone? Where is the focus on developing strong characters? Is this lack of focus evident in the lack of powerful story writing? Is it possible that stories would improve if the student’s really fleshed out their characters? Would the whole story improve?

Brian McDonald has an amazing book on the process of screenwriting called Invisible Ink. He said the key to writing a great story is to really “know” a character and then throw something in their way that would be “the worst thing that could happen.”
Recently in a grade five class I proposed this idea of character + the “worst thing” that could happen.
"What if a girl was popular?"

“She could become invisible.”

“ Or another girl who was more popular shows up at school.”

Exactly, know you know your characters traits….the need for popularity…throw the worst thing that could happen at them.
Voila….Character + motive+ plot + need for resolution is established.
So perhaps we need focus kids back on the characters they know. What would be the worst thing to happen to Fancy Nancy? What do we know about her? What would be the “worse thing that could happen”?

Let’s looks at Shrek. He was a recluse and liked to do things his way.
What’s the worst thing that happened?

Everybody moved onto his land. (Remember, he’s a recluse). Someone interfered with his journey causing him to collaborate. (Remember he liked to do things his own way.)

These ideas should help you get started.

Lit Maven

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