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A Modern Commonplace Book

Session 5
Wendy Eiteljorg, Tania O'Donnell — The Shipley School

We will share ways that we are engaging students in this type of collecting and commenting. One set of examples comes from Art classes where students are using Pinterest to collect images that are used in preparation for class projects. Student Pin Boards demonstrate learning in comments connected to in-class learning. Students build their own image libraries, building toward an Independent Study project. One student pointed out, this is “almost like the new version of Art Museums”.

Another example comes from an English class where students have a choice a few tools to use in their collection of passages from a large novel. In this example, students were asked to make this a two step process—noting in a book, and then pulling some of that into a commonplace book with personal commentary. Students then have this to look back on as they think about writing an essay on a topic of their choosing. Their compiled information will create a history of their thinking and interests.

Both examples help the teacher to personalize her conversation and interaction with the student and his or her ideas and interests.

These examples also draw inspiration from and speak to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit habitus at the Fabric Workshop earlier in the year.

Conversational Practice

We will share our examples and student work. In addition, we would like to open this discussion up to how we support careful looking/noticing of ideas and student interest. In addition, we would like to have a conversation about other ideas for this work as well as other tools that people may have used. Another topic for discussion may be how to keep the focus on the learning and habits of mind that we are aiming to instill, rather than the tools.

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