Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Perspectives on perspective

A rolling stone gathers no moss, it's been said. To that old saw, I now add: a writer who doesn't write gathers no topics. I'm both surprised and not surprised by how quickly I've fallen out of the groove gouged during the recently concluded #sol16 story challenge. So, I will reach desperately into English class for slice inspiration. More of a nick, really.

Today, I adapted activity 1 in this lesson from EDSITEment where students write about different points of view using five black-and-white photos of the Statue of Liberty. I next asked my eighth graders to choose a landmark of their own, go visit it virtually, and start two pieces about that location, each from a unique perspective. Sure, I noticed plenty of Eiffel Towers, but there was remarkable breadth, too. Some students returned to places they'd frequented over the recent spring break, reviving happy memories; others used a few clicks to observe spots of which they'd only dreamed before. Class simultaneously visited Ireland, Thailand, Peru, and South Dakota, among other locales.

I never fail to be amazed by the writing grist provided by the Internet's seemingly ceaseless digital mill. I can also still fret about how much this relatively easy access to imagery may atrophy writers' own imaginative powers over time. (Clouds have silver linings, but the converse is equally true.) Changing perspective, I hope, will always powerfully jolt my students' creative juices.


  1. Very interesting approach, I bet the students really enjoyed the entire process. After all, they do have the world at their fingertips!

  2. So good to see you here on Tuesday! I love your lesson idea. There are so many possibilities. I think visuals are something that are really important for this generation of students. They don't know a time when an image wasn't part of a text (at least online). I think there are pros and cons to this but there will be no going back. I see my 3rd graders are most interested in finding the right image for their blog posts, even more than the actual writing!

  3. I thought I would never come up with an idea yesterday. It's strange how a few days out of the writing life really pushed me right out of the writing life! I'm so glad you pressed on and shared this idea. We are getting ready to review point of view; and I am going to give this a try!