Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writing Exercise

DAY 54

23 FEB 09

My son is learning to write in school. Not penmanship, but writing stories. Structure. And my son, he ain't getting it.

He came home from school with a page filled with sentences. On that page was a sticky note saying he needed to rewrite the paper. In paragraphs. So my son dutifully sat down and did the work. And came back with a page filled with nothing but paragraphs. Each sentence was its own paragraph.

Now, I'm all for frequent paragraphing; it can have quite an impact. But that was overdone, even for me. It quickly became clear to me that the poor little guy had no idea of the purpose for paragraphs. I came up with a way to help him understand.

We scribbled each sentence onto a piece of paper, then cut them apart so that each sentence was its own slip of paper. Then I had him separate the slips of paper into groups. Why dogs are good to have around was one group. How to care for a dog was another. From those piles, he was able to write his paper. With paragraphs. And I was able to comfortably say he did all the work.

This photo is some of those slips of paper lined up on my dining room table, waiting to be written into paragraphs. The sunlight was coming in through the blinds, and I thought it made an interesting scene.

Post processing was simple: noise reduction, sharpening, curves adjustment, black and white conversion using Photoshop's black and white adjustment with the maximum black setting, and a border addition.


EDITED March 4, 2009 5:53 pm to include the color version below for comparison's sake, without borders as requested by an anonymous commenter:


  1. The black and white tells a much different "story" than the original colour version would have.

  2. I would love to see your photos without borders, the borders seem to limit the flow of the ideas/images in the photo, and I think they would stand alone just fine.

  3. Anonymous -- The borders are part of my Project 365 workflow. I know it might sound weird, but when I add the border, it signals the photo's been downsized and is ready to be uploaded.

    If you'd like to see my photos without borders, feel free to stop by my Flickr photostream. The Project 365 photos have borders, but they're the only ones. I've got a lot of landscapes -- sans borders.

    I appreciate your input, though!

  4. Diane -- I went back and forth on this one, and liked the look of the black and white better. However, I'll edit my post to include a color version for comparison's sake (without borders for anonymous).

  5. As I thought, the story behind the two versions is very different. The colour version has softer light and seems to say - this is a child's homework. The black and white version seems to say - there's a message here, and it's important.

    Thanks for sharing both versions!

  6. Very cool experiment with Little Dude and imaginative. I think the B&W version strikes a much sharper image on this one too. Good job.

  7. Tess -- It was the easiest way I could think of to make him understand the concept. Next I have to come up with something for multiplication (::sigh::).

  8. Diane -- Thanks again. Looking back at the photos, I completely see what you're saying.

  9. I like the look of the B&W better, too. Great writing exercise to help Little Dude get the idea of paragraphs!

  10. Thanks, Heather. Since it was so hands-on it turned out to be a lot of fun for both of us.