Thursday, October 06, 2005

Imagination - blockbuster TV in the making

Today I was working with a group of four third graders. As they read, I asked them to make connections. Did the story or illustrations make them think about anything else? Did it remind them of something that happened to them or something they'd read about or something on the news? In the story, there was a cartoon character who was trying to pull a giant turnip out of the ground.

One girl (I'll call her Karen) told me about how the picture reminded her of the time that she was trying to pull a piece of metal out of the ground and it flipped her up into the air. Then her sister tried to pull it out, and it flipped her into the air, too. And then her father tried, and it even flipped him into the air. Karen looked at me with wide eyes and a sincere expression as she related her tale. Karen wasn't lying to me. She was imagining pulling on something stuck in the ground, and then being flung into the air where she flipped around and landed softly back on the earth. I could see the excitement in her eyes as she visualized the experience.

In education we talk about connections - text to text connections, text to self connections, and text to world connections. Karen illustrated a connection that isn't in the books on teaching. She made a text to imagination connection.

And the thought came to me that such childlike IMAGINATION is what is seriously lacking in everyday life today. Creators of TV shows and movies have lost the ability to think beyond the ordinary in innocent flights of fancy, fun, excitement and adventure. Instead, their imaginations have gone in the direction of the dark, cynical, and sexual. And we're the worse for it.

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