Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds: Responding Visually to Literature / Edition 1

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Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds captures the power of young people's visual responses to literature. Working in a community of learners, Phyllis Whitin encouraged her students to respond to their readings through sketched interpretations. Like pieces of writing, the sketches became a vital part of the curriculum as vehicles for discussion and reflective tools for understanding. Her book shows how she implemented the strategy-how she discovered, came to understand, and refined it to fit the needs of her seventh-grade classroom.

From that perspective, the book is a model for high quality teacher research. "I have grown as a teacher by looking closely at classroom events and by inviting students to share their thinking with me," Whitin states in the preface. "I have found that teacher research does not mean 'doing' something 'to' kids. Instead, teacher research is looking closely, listening attentively, and learning collaboratively with my students."

Upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers looking for ways to expand literary interpretation and self-evaluation in the classroom will find Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds invaluable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The written descriptions are quite eloquent and detailed, successfully making the case that sketching is a method that works in the teaching of literature. Whitin's book should be included on every educator's bookshelf.”–Language Arts
School Library Journal
Many educators use visual representation as one way of approaching a literary text. In Sketching Stories, Phyllis Whitin expands on this technique, systematizing it and showing how drawing can be used with literature in more complex ways. Whitin calls the technique "sketch to stretch," which she explains as a visual representation (or sketch) of a novel that extends, refines, and deepens (or stretches) a reader's awareness and appreciation of the work. The author has found, as I have, that readers' responses to literature are enriched when they approach the text in a variety of ways. Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds focuses primarily on Whiten's experiences with an academically talented class of seventh graders. But Whitin adds that students of all abilities and varying grade levels have responded well to her efforts. And she makes clear that this is only one of many possible approaches. This book offers a useful, enjoyable approach to literature beyond the standard book report.-Stephen Shroeder-Davis, VandenBerge Junior High, Elk River, MN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435088705
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/26/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 138
  • Age range: 8 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Whitin teaches language arts and children's literature courses at Wayne State University. She has spent twenty-five years working with children in settings ranging from preschool to middle school. Phyllis has a B.A. degree from Bates College, an M.A.T. from the University of New Hampshire, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. The National Council of Teachers of English named her a finalist for the Promising Researcher Award in 1994 for her doctoral research in visual response to literature. Phyllis' wealth of classroom experience gives her a sensitivity to the demands placed on classroom teachers. Her lively, interactive sessions offer practical activities and strategies that are based on solid research. She speaks regularly about her classroom work at NCTE, IRA, and NCTM conferences, as well as with other organizations both nationally and internationally.
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Table of Contents

Summer of the Monkeys

Sketching and the Authoring Cycle

Fostering a Spirit of Inquiry Through Sketching

Specialized Sketching: The Story of Literature Pie Graphs

Becoming a Risk Taker: One Student's Story

Sketches as Tools for Reflection

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