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Friday, August 6, 2010

The writer's brain-No longer a Right-Winged movement

It seems that our society likes black and white photography-good guy vs bad guy, right vs wrong... is there ever a bad guy with good intentions? With our dualistic media as a teacher, it doesn't surprise me that we've tried to categorize students into lefties and righties-writers and mathematicians.

There are three big problems with this dichotomy:
1. Categorizing students as mathematicians may limit their writing ability, and vise versa (self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. According to gender stereotypes, masculine individuals perform better in math-this may limit the performance of gifted feminine individuals in the subject, and force them into writing, where they are in fact less talented
3. There are many more categories-more comes into play than just left and right (we should consider this in politics, too), and
4. Concentrating on your "Gifted" side limits your overall thought processing.

First things first-as with many preconceptions, our students enter our classroom already socialized into believing they are right or left brained. Start off by giving them this test: here they will find not two but six thought style breakdowns, accompanied by descriptions and exercises for the non-dominant aspects of the students' thoughts.

To round out writing lessons, try brainstorming with pictures

Next year, I will be using a Tumblr account for my public speaking class-this will expand the class to include verbal (speaking) and nonverbal (picture) communication.

Also, try encouraging description from students, not just the correct answer-how did you get there, using adjectives, etc.

Even learning online is now a visual learner's game
1. Iconographics
example: have students create visuals for recent news at PicLits:

As NASA releases its photos to public domain, students can get all kinds of views of the moon (making those abstract themes seem realistic and tangible!)

check out a new idea: "cartoon your concepts" allows you to explain pictorially what may be confusing vocally!

2. Vocab

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