A good writer, particularly one who wants to write to change the world, understands his or her own world view. What is a world? What is a view?

Well, a look in the dictionary tells us that  world  is a noun and can mean:
1 : the earth and all the people and things upon it
2 : people in general : HUMANITY
3 : the system of created things : UNIVERSE
4 : the concerns of the earth and human affairs
5 : human society
6 : a class of persons sharing a common interest or activity
7 : a part or section of the earth and the people who live in it
8 : the scene of one's life and action

The word view,in this instance, is a noun and can mean:

1: the act of seeing or examining
3 : all that can be seen from a certain point
4 : range of vision

So, when we say world view, we mean the way that we see the many worlds we live in. There are many influences on how we see our worlds--our heritage, our family, where we live, what experiences we've had, what we like to do, our friends, our teachers, the type of government we have, even the type of home we live in!

Knowing what influences each one of us can help us to make choices about how we write to influence others.


This week, use the World View worksheet and map your worlds and influences. You'll already have had some time to do this and some discussion about this during our Monday class. Then, write a poem--using the guide I've provided--and post it on your blog. It is a first draft.

Over the next 2 weeks, I would like for you to visit the blogs and read everyone's poem.
  • I'd like for you to identify one ABSTRACT word that the author can UNPACK.
  • I'd also like for you to make a quick comment about something you learned about that person that you didn't know or that surprises you. 

Where I'm From By Scott I am from Texas
where deep in the heart lies Austin.
I am from the sunny Saturday afternoons
of Texas Longhorn football games.
I am from sports
and the lessons that I learn from these games
I play with all my ability and enjoy the victories.

I am from my family, friends,
and awesome food.
I am from my grandmother's warm pies
and my parents cooking, from which
I grew to be a large boy.
I am from Texas barbeque
which smells and tastes like none other.
Although I cannot have it right now
I can still remember.

I am from Tennessee
where I live at the Foothills of the Smokies
and enjoy hiking on clear days.
I am from lessons in literature
and the sounds of a saxophone.
I am from the try your hardest
and never give ups.
I'm from my hard work
and the present as I continue on life's journey.

September 27 2010
A good writer listens well and asks questions that will help him or her to understand and clarify. Here a couple of quotations that I try to live by:

You are not really listening if you aren’t willing to be changed by what you hear.

Listening requires us to do only that—one cannot truly listen and be doing something else at the same time.

To often, we listen to our friends, teachers, family etc while doing something else, or while thinking about what WE WANT TO SAY. I am quite guilty of doing both. But I try, every day, to do this a little better. I am always amazed about how just listening to someone else encourages them to tell me more--and I get to learn more. Asking questions that show I've really been listening really makes the other person feel like they've been heard. In the months ahead, you'll use the same principles when reading a classmate's writing or when interviewing someone you don't know about their concerns.

Empathic listening and questioning takes practice--so in class we did just that. First we read Fifth Grade Autobiography by Rita Dove. She describes a photograph in the poem. After the exercise, we talked about what happened. Some students said that when they were listening completely it was like they could see the photograph. Other students said that they'd never been listened to so attentively. Still other students said that it was hard work but fun.

With Your Partner--

  • Sit, directly facing each other
  • Take turns speaking and listening
  • Ask questions only during the question round
From your memory, describe a photograph that you really like from your own life. Give as many details as you can and say why you like the photo and how you feel about it.

The Speaker: Look directly at your partner. If you finish speaking before time is up, just sit quietly.
The Listener: While the speaker is talking, listen only. Don’t comment or ask questions. Look directly at your partner.

During the question round:


1. Make sure you heard your partner right--

So, what I heard you saying is…

2. Ask a question of your partner that will get them to expand on what they said.
 Do you think…

 Do you feel…

 Do you hope…

    Speaker: Answer the questions as best you can.
Assignment: Find the photograph and bring it in to class.

Write a paragraph about the picture—is it the same as you remembered? If not, why do you think that is? How is it different? How do you feel when you look at the picture now?

Fifth Grade Autobiography by Rita Dove

I was four in this photograph fishing

with my grandparents at a lake in Michigan.

My brother squats in poison ivy.

His Davy Crockett cap

sits squared on his head so the raccoon tail

flounces down the back of his sailor suit.

My grandfather sits to the far right

in a folding chair,

and I know his left hand is on

the tobacco in his pants pocket

because I used to wrap it for him

every Christmas. Grandmother's hips

bulge from the brush, she's leaning

into the ice chest, sun through the trees

printing her dress with soft

luminous paws.

I am staring jealously at my brother;

the day before he rode his first horse, alone.

I was strapped in a basket

behind my grandfather.

He smelled of lemons. He's died--

but I remember his hands.




Thumbs up! Ms. Kyles class divided into small groups and were given the instruction to arrange themselves by their thumbs. What? Yep. By their thumbs. After a few minutes to talk and come to an agreement about how they would do this, the students presented their "arrangement" by group.  A couple lined up according to length of thumb, one group divided into two because half their group had thumbs which curved at the end, while the others were straight. Another group looked at the lines on the top of their thumbs and still another considered the color of their nails.
     The students then sat down to talk about the process and make some observations about what it takes to have a successful group process.

1. Each person gets to talk.
2. Make sure everyone is invited to speak--invited SINCERELY.
3. Listen to everyone's ideas and include in discussion.
4. Explore ideas by looking at birthdays and seasons.
    (The class came up with these words to replace the traditional pros and cons. The offered words that had positive meanings and words represented change, rather than "bad." After a vote, the group chose birthdays and seasons.)

We'll continue to explore community agreements.

The students were then asked to examine their thumbs closely, from all angles, and do a quick sketch. A good writer takes notice very ACTIVELY. Lots of times, we assume we know something well, even something so close to us as our thumbs. The students looked at their thumbs and used their other senses as well. Even tasting!
Assignment: Pretend your thumb can speak. What story would it tell about you and what voice would it use to tell the story. Write a paragraph ( or more).