About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
a registered yoga teacher, and a Thai/Yoga Bodywork practitioner.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tell me about...

I found a blog last week that upended my approach to teaching writing and grammar.

The creator had left a comment on another blog I read, so I clicked her name to see what else she had to say. I have woke up eager for "my" computer time every morning to continue reading:

"Wonderfarm" a.k.a. http://patriciazaballos.com/
If you go to her page, click "blog" at the top.

On the sidebar is The Dictation Project. To summarize, all kids are storytellers and writers, but the ability to go from speaking it to writing it is gradual. Also, some people's minds --not just kids' minds-- lock up at a blank page. They can think it; they can speak it, but writing it takes so much time and concentration that the stream of thought dwindles to a trickle. Then it stops.

If you want to experience what *that* feels like --being hamstrung by the page-- try her five minute experiment.

Go ahead. I'll wait for you. Just read about it (that might be enough).

Another thought that is still ringing in my mind is how taking dictation from a child is like taking a photograph. It's a piece of how that child thinks. It won't stay like that forever.

I took dictation from Nate once, writing an email to my sister. He was a toddler, maybe two, and in a "Snoop Dogg" phase. He would say a few words and then branch off  into nonsense for a second, then he'd return to his "real" words, then branch off "izzle-ing" and whatnot. I couldn't describe it (still can't) so I just wrote exactly what he said.

Oh, why did I not continue copying down how he talked? All those years of language development and ideas...gone.  (Face: if you still have that email, send me a copy).

2006 -- How did they talk then? I don't remember...

The point is that you can take dictation from any child, at any age. Grown ups do it all the time with  recorders and secretaries. Not being able to type or write out one's thoughts should not be the barrier to writing.

How do you start? Just ask the child to tell you about anything. Nate loves to talk about video game systems. Madelyn likes stories with animals as the main characters. They have been composing for as long as they've been talking, and I've missed most every word.

Not anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment