Slice of Life Tuesdays @ Two Writing Teachers: “I want my eyes to see what my imagination thinks.”

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“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
― RumiThe Essential Rumi

Today, we took advantage of the only nice day this week by clearing out of our classroom and trekking around our building and its grounds in search of photographs for our digital stories.  My kids were in seventh heaven – a beautiful day, an impromptu field trip, and permission to use their phones to take pictures during school hours…it was all just too delicious to believe!  Bonnie was with us to record the process and the fun…and fun was had (as you can see in Bonnie’s SOL today).

Two students did not have their phones with them, so one borrowed my ipad and another was entrusted with my iphone.  As we made our way hither and tither, I noticed that Sam, who had my iphone, was moving around with particular deliberation.

He crouched low for one shot, then tilted his head back and stretched his arms as high as they would go for another.  Suddenly, he leapt behind a stand of forsythia bushes, and wedged the camera right in the center.  And then he was off, climbing a fence to get just the right angle for a shot of some trees in bloom..  Sometimes he was the very last photographer in our rag tag band of digital adventurers, and sometimes I could see him way ahead.  At one point, seeing him bent over a carpet of dogwood petals, I made some off hand comment about his careful process.  He turned around and looked at me in that quiet Sam way – thoughtful, and considering his words carefully.  “Yes,” he said, “I want my eyes to see what my imagination thinks.”  Then, leaving me to ponder over exactly what he meant, he was off to capture the next shot.

This evening, I retrieved my phone and set about tagging Sam’s pictures to email them to him.  I expected to have to sort through a bunch of random pictures, too many of them at that.  But I was wrong.  Sam may have looked as though he was all over the place, taking pictures of nothing in particular and wasting his time…but he was actually deeply engaged, making his eyes see what his imagination was busy thinking. Each photograph, so carefully composed, is now ready for his storytelling.

I can’t wait to read Sam’s stories.

photo 1 (2) photo 2 (2) photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


15 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesdays @ Two Writing Teachers: “I want my eyes to see what my imagination thinks.”

  1. IPhones have opened up the world for everyone, haven’t they? It’s wonderful to see at least some of his imagination. I hope you’ll share his story if he’ll allow it, Tara. That quote could be one of your wonderful ones on your wall! Happy you and Bonnie got together again! I’m jealous as usual!

  2. What an inspiring post. I actually “booked” out of school early and went for a walk yesterday noticing, on my way, a swarm of honeybees on a tree. I was wishing I HAD my phone with me at that moment to capture the SOL!

  3. Wonderful idea! I need to remember this as I plan for the last lessons (after we finish our research project). Students would love to use their phones. I hope along with Linda that we could read Sam’s stories about his photographs. Have a wonderful day!

  4. I love the idea of getting outside and seeing our stories. Our school does not allow phones. I’d have to work around that rule in some way. (Hmm) “I want my eyes to see what my imagination thinks.” Interesting to see where this activity will lead.

  5. Three cheers for Sam for sure. It’s what we artists do–try and create out loud what our imagination already sees perfectly. And your Rumi quote was really what I needed today, too. Thank you!

  6. You always have the best writing lesson ideas! I love how you let the students work with so much independence, trusting their process. Sam’s pictures have me intrigued, I want to know what his imagination thinks.

  7. What a great lesson for them now and in the future. They will always have their phones with them, and their imaginations. What a tool our phones are! I want to do this soon…

  8. We’ve both written about noticing today, Tara! I love Sam’s comment, “I want my eyes to see what my imagination thinks.” So insightful, and such beautiful photos. Looking forward to reading some of the writing they inspire.

  9. When I read this post I can feel the amazing relationship you have with your students, the warmth is so tangible. I know your school year is drawing to a close and I think you guys are going to miss each other. Our school year is just a quarter through but I am excited about the 3rd and 4th quarters when the familiarity of a family is so special. Great little photographer that Sam!!!

  10. What a fun activity and great line from Sam! Interesting pics – looking forward to the writing that emerges!

  11. I love that last photo – red lockers, red checkered floor, and a red door at the end! Walking friends know that walks with me also include stops for photos. I hope you can share Sam’s story with us.

  12. Ha! My iPhone drowned this morning in a toilet, but with a few Apple stores to choose from and Apple Care, I replaced it easily and I’m back in business with everything automatically saved in the iCloud. It was interesting to read your focus. I don’t know the kids individually so my sense of them is as a group and as a group I watched their opportunity to get in close with the cameras and enjoy the panorama of the day outside as well.
    So cool..:) When do we meet up again ?

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