Friday, September 5, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion
I was seventy-one years old when I began work on Write What You See: 99 PhotosTo Inspire Writing. Now I'm seventy-three, and the book is finally at the publisher where it's being fine tuned and made ready for the printer.
I've been delighted by the many positive comments I've received from educators who have read the unedited manuscript. Here's an excerpt from Diane Carver Sekeres' contribution. "Kellner's juxtaposition of his and others' photography with quotes, poetry, and prompts in WRITE WHAT YOU SEE is a feast of wonderment, inspiration, provocation, and stimulation."
Diane is a member of the Literacy Program Faculty at the College of Education, University of Alabama. Thank you, Diane!

The Case of the Thieving Seagull
Of all the writing activities that use images to inspire writing that have crossed my desk, Justin Van Kleeck’s “Thieving Seagull” assignment is among the most creative and original. “I show my students a video of a seagull that steals a bag of Doritos from a store in Scotland every day,” writes Van Kleeck. In the first part of the assignment, he directs the students to write a process paper in which they instruct their fellow seagulls on how to steal, open, and eat the Doritos. In the second part of the assignment, he tells the students to write from the point of view of a shopkeeper who is telling other shopkeepers how to prevent the seagull from stealing Doritos in a creative, non-violent way. "The key to the exercise,” concludes Van Kleeck, “ is for students to utilize the process approach while also employing their imaginations. They should be encouraged to create easy to follow, step-by-step instructions without skimping on style."

Does This Person Have a Toothache?
Well, we really don't know, do we? But whatever the problem may be, the image shown against an interesting and enigmatic background certainly is provocative.
Some students may simply study the photograph and allow their imaginations to guide them in their writing. Others may wish to discuss such questions as : (1) Is the person in the photograph a man or a woman? ((2) What is the meaning of the cryptic statement painted on the background? (3) Is the subject of the photograph in pain? If so, what is the cause of the pain? (4) If you could interview the subject of the photo, what would you want to find out about him or her?In any case, this photograph is just one example of thousands--maybe even millions--of others that can trigger ideas in the minds of students at all levels.

Nitwit of the Month Award
If Bill O'Reilly can have a "Pinhead" Award, why can't I have a "Nitwit" Award? Here's my first one. According to the London Daily Mail, a former British glamour model named Jayne Bennington spends the equivalent of $600 a month in an attempt to make her 11-year-old daughter into a beauty queen. Congratulations from across the pond, Jane. We look forward to the appearance of your unlucky daughter on a reality show very soon.

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