Saturday, April 18, 2009

Alert! Alert! Senses Overload!

I smell spring. It's coming through the open window in my office. There's no doubt about it...I smell freshly mowed grass, crocuses, and the first charcoal grill of the season. Yep...spring is here! Let's write about it.

Usually I say, "Write as fast as you can!" but that's how we'll end this writing exercise, not how we'll start it...okay?

Writers: Today (or the next weather permitting day this week) go outside. You can lounge in a chair or lay flat on your backs and look at the sky. Breathe the air. Taste the wind. Take of your shoes and feel new dirt and grass. Inspect...really inspect delecate buds. Pick up a bug. Watch an ant. Feel the bark of a tree. Listen to the flutter of bird wings.

Your senses should be on overload. Creative overload!

Go inside or stay outside. Write the word SPRING at the top of your paper. As fast as you can, without lifting your pencil for spaces, write every thought, word, or idea that falls out of your mind and makes you think of spring. This is braindropping at its finest! Time yourselves for one minute.

When you're ready, use your list and your imagination to write a paragraph, poem, or memory of a spring past or present.

Teachers and parents: Do the same activity. The only change is this: Take a piece of posterboard outside with you. Braindrop your list of spring sounds, sights, smells, and tastes (after you've had five minutes of silence). I know getting kids to be quiet and just soak in the gifts of the new season seems like it might be hard, but it's not. Why? Because first you're going to share your memories of spring when you were a child. Nothing gets a child engaged faster than letting them into your lives. It makes their writing relavant to what you both know.



Travis Erwin said...

Freshly cut grass is definitely the scent of the muses.

Sandy said...

Fresh air
tall grass
clean up
weed killer
sore muscles

I spent the day trimming the Rose of Sharon, and the Mallow. Pulled the sticks from the hostas, pulled some weeds, filled 2 lawn bags........barely made a dent.

Made a few changes with my adsense ads on, Sandy's Space, Travelingsuitcase, and the Bridge.

Jan Mader said...

You've got the braindropping down, girl!

Sandy said...

Agree on the printing and saving, you were in my always. Hugs

Joanne said...

Hi Jan,
Thanks for checking out my blog. Yours looks like fun. I hope to participate in some of the exercises you are offering. Thanks, again.

Suzanne said...

This sounds like great fun. I'll give it a try as soon as I can get outside.

Latte Lady said...

Jan, you are so inspiring! Great idea!


Latte Lady said...

You know, I think I'll make a post linking to yours today! It's a great springtime activity!

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

When I work on my novel I like to work outside the best. I sit listening to the birds sing and watch the ducks fly in for a little swim while the squirrels come to beg peanuts. There's always a story going on in the back yard, you just have to watch for it... and then write about it :)

While gardening I saw an interesting large green bug. I picked it up to examine him closer. He stood for a little while and then he opened his wings, caught a breeze and flew off. Then he landed on a bush about 10 feet away. A sparrow sitting on a bird house saw him fly over and swooped down to gobble him up. I jumped up to scare the bird and it flew away. I walked over to investigate the bug and there he was on the ground, not moving. He was dead. I felt bad. If I didn't pick him up to admire him, he might still be alive wandering around in the wood chips of the garden. I'm sorry bug.

Christine said...

So this isn't from this exercise, but I think you might really enjoy this ...

So, Ayanna is one of my favorites (I know you're not supposed to have them, but I can't help it - she can be so quietly considerate when no one's watching) ... today she added another thing for me to love about her. She wrote me a poem. The students obviously know about Grandma's death and how prolonged this has all been - she was sympathetic this morning, asking me softly how I was and saying very stoically how sorry she was for my loss. Then she asked me if I was sad and I said, 'well yeah, I just need something bright and cheery like the sunshine today to perk me up'. I then forgot the exchange and the day progressed.

We get to the end of the day and as she heads out the door she hands me a small orange piece of paper with these words ...

Orange looks like a tiger lily.
It smells like bonfires blazing.
It sounds like leaves floating to the ground in the fall.
It tastes like a ripe, juicy mango.
It feels like flames of fire.
Orange makes me want to tango.

So points all around to you, to Ayanna, and to Grandma :)

Rabin said...

There are so many great things about this activity (I wonder if we - me or my students - will be able to keep ourselves from raising the pencil off the paper), but I especially appreciate its value for urban students, who often don't get exposed to or an appreciation for nature. The city (NYC) is so busy, noisy, and bustling, taking a moment to just be still in quiet is very necessary. I actually think all schools should make some time for activities like this every single school day for grades preK-12. Seriously.

Also, it's poetry month! My drama students are created their own scripts and monologues to perform in a June finale, so this activity might be a timely and constructive way to get their minds cooking.

Thanks, Jan!