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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do Now

Teachers: here's a fun "Do Now" to engage reluctant writers. 

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Look around. Almost everything you see is made by people for people. The objects that populate our world are here because they serve some (real or imagined) human need. Pick something—anything—and write down its name. full stop.

Next sentence: define and explain your object (give it the ol' 5W's treatment). See if you can land on some broader connection that you wouldn't have made were it not for holding forth about your object on the page.

EXAMPLE:

Shoes.  Shoes protect your feet. They keep you comfortable when you have to stand; they soften the blow when you must run. We wear shoes to keep stuff out. Without shoes, we'd be forced to find the long way around. But with shoes, we can charge right through. With shoes, we scramble up. Or skip the whole way down.

Some shoes are just for play and some are just for work. We have shoes for underwater and shoes that help us fly. Some we wear to pray. And some we wear in war. We tie and buckle and strap. We slip and slide and pull.

If you want to know who I am, just look at my shoes. In the classroom, they are black and shiny—a penny in each tongue. On the weekend, I live in sandals. In the morning, slippers. On a jog, sneakers. The field, cleats. When I change my shoes, I change my me. And sometimes I wear no shoes at all.

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