The Art of Awareness Word Webbing Activity

The Art of Awareness Word Webbing Activity (adapted by Deb Curtis and Margie Carter from In Writing the Natural Way, Gabriele Lusser Rico) 1. Look at the picture posted in the middle of the white board. 2. Draw a circle around the picture. 3. Look closely at the picture, notice the sensory details: colour, texture, light, how you feel when you look at it, what is on your mind. 4. Brainstorm words to describe the details you’re noticing. Put each new word or phrase in a circle connected to the central circle with a line (as pictured above). Think of as many descriptive words as you can and add them to the web. 5. Use the words on the web to begin to formulate some sentences about the picture. 6. Save the work on this board as we will return to it. Beginning to formulate a story using collaborative webbing and writing (adapted from Deb Curtis and Margie Carter – The Art of Awareness) While some teachers are have strong observation skills they are less comfortable putting their words down on paper. Other teachers are exceptional story tellers but have a difficult time translating their ideas into print. Try this activity to help strengthen your collaborative writing skills. 1. Chose a partner. One person should be the storyteller while the other is the scribe. Take a piece of paper in preparation to make a one web on each side. 2. The storyteller should begin by describing a memorable time working with a child. Try to include as many details as possible such as the time of year, temperature, lighting, sounds, colours and smells. What specifically unfolded while you were together with the child? Are there facial expressions or actions you can describe in detail? 3. While the story teller is talking, the scribe creates a web of words and phrases from the story. 4. Now, change roles with the scribe becoming the storyteller and the storyteller becoming the scribe. 5. Following the same guidelines, repeat the activity in your new roles. 6. When both people have told their stories, exchange the word webs, so that you each have words for your own stories in front of you. Take these words and write the first paragraph of your story. 7. Share your story with your partner. 8. Discuss with your group any new insights you have gained. 9. Write down these insights. Practicing writing from three perspectives Observations and subsequent documentation is often completed with a focus on some aspect of learning and/or development. This process is valuable and is clearly an important part of making thinking visible but it is only one of the possible stories you could be telling. We can also share a learning story from the child’s perspective and from the view of the teacher as well. 1. As a group, go back to your whiteboard and reflect on the word web you created. 2. Try to write the three stories of the picture (the child’s story; the learning and development story; the teacher’s story). You can use the chart of questions below to help you find each of the three perspectives. A learning story from three perspectives The Child’s Story The Learning and Development Story What is the child What new ideas, doing with the questions, material or object? understandings or What seems to be solutions, is the engaging about it? child coming up What is she with? inventing and How is this investigating experience through this play supporting or or activity? undermining a positive sense of identity for this child? What might the ELECT add to your understanding? The Teacher’s Story How does what you see fit with what you already know about children? What are you curious about? What do you want to know more about? What hunches do you have about the meaning of this activity for this child or these children?