5. The Literacy Tapestry: Language Arts (the Warp) and Creativity (the Weft) (4/4) – Best Practices for Education Professionals

64 Best Practices for Education Professionals
Your Visual Scheme of My Creative and Literate Self should chronicle your personal
development. The primary goal of this assignment is to explore your developmental
journey and to see how engaging in this process will help give you insight into the cre-
ative, cultural, and communication abilities of your students, the variables that impact
learning, and the connections you make from your own exploration to the information
gleaned from class. The organization and synthesis of ideas, awareness of classmates’
processes, creativity, and blocks or boosters to your own expression of ideas and
expression of your innate, but often unexpressed, creativity, and literacy history are
important aspects of this project.
You may want to consider the following questions when developing your Visual
Scheme of My Creative and Literate Self project:
What are your earliest recollections of artistic, creative, and reading and writ-
ing experiences?
Were there art supplies, books, newspapers, and magazines in your home? Was
there artwork on the walls?
Did you see people using drawing, coloring, painting, model building, crafts,
music, reading, and writing for useful purposes and leisure pursuits?
Did you go to concerts, museums, and/or the library as a child? If so, what do
you remember about going to the museums and/or the library?
Can you recall teachers, learning experiences, or educational materials? How
did these influence your creative, artistic, and literacy development?
Do you remember engaging in drawing, coloring, painting, model building,
crafts, music, reading, and writing as pleasurable experiences? If so, in what
ways? If not, why not?
How did you feel about drawing, coloring, painting, model building, crafts,
music, reading, and writing in elementary school? Middle school? High
Did your creative, artistic, musical, and/or literacy abilities affect your feelings
about yourself as a person? If so, how?
Do you currently engage in creative or artistic pursuits? Are you a reader and
writer now? If so, describe yourself as a artist and/or reader and writer; if not,
why do you suppose this is so?
How have your personal artistic and/or literacy experiences affected your life
goals? Your decision to become a teacher?
Throughout the next 3–4 weeks, keep a notebook (journal) with you and re-
cord in it an on-going list of every literacy experience you can think of that
has influenced you to become the creative and literate individual you are. The
list should include both “positive” and “negative” experiences and contain ap-
proximately 20–30 experiences from your earliest memories to the present.
Use every available resource. For example, you should interview your parents,
The Literacy Tapestry: Language Arts (the Warp) and Creativity (the Weft) 65
grandparents, siblings, and former teachers. Look through saved school pa-
pers, report cards, or yearbooks to help trigger your memory. Talk with friends
with whom you still have contact that were in your neighborhood or classes in
school. Think about the books or stories you read or wrote as a child and the
experiences surrounding those memories. Please be as open and honest as pos-
sible and include anything that comes to mind. You will not show me or anyone
else this list, and you will not submit this aspect of the assignment. However,
this first component is a necessary step to the success of your learning and to
the success of your project. As you are working on the list or after you finish
your list, develop categories that include all of your experiences. All items
must be included, even if you need to come up with a miscellaneous category
(try to avoid that if you can). These categories, with individual experiences of
your choice, will become part of your presentation. Examples of categories
are: Family; Education (in General; Literacy Experiences: Early Literacy Ex-
periences, Middle School Experiences, and so on: and Recreation. One of the
categories should be or should somehow include how you have developed as a
culturally sensitive individual. Determine the dominant relationships that exist
between the categories. For example:
no relationship––categories with experiences that made you who you are
now, but which have little in common;
––categories are unique, but also worked together to provide
their distinctive experiences;
gistic––the relationship between one or more categories increased the
impact the category had on forming you as a literate individual;
each category contains experiences which conflict with ex-
periences from the other category or categories;
one category contains experiences which happened before the
experiences in the other category or categories;
chical––one category is more important than another; and
––categories contributed equally to who you have become, who you
are now.
Make an iconic (an image or representation) model that is anything you can
think of, which properly represents your categories and the relationships they
have with each other. The model needs to represent the relationships between
categories as graphically as possible. Use any form or medium you would like.
The most important aspect of this model is the relationships between your
categories and your development as a creative and literate individual. Please
mention or include books or texts that have had a major impact on your literacy
development. Be creative! As long as you come up with something that fulfills
what has been requested, your model will not be “wrong.” We will share mod-
els with each other during class presentations. As you show your model, you
will explain:
66 Best Practices for Education Professionals
how you developed categories and the significance of each category to your
creative and literacy development (you may share selected experiences at
this time if you choose);
the relationship(s) between each category or among the categories;
why you chose the model you did and how it represents the relationships
that exist between your categories and how you perceive yourself as a liter-
ate individual; and
the barriers or boosters that you experienced during the formation and cre-
ation stages of your model.
Do a quality job, but focus the majority of your energy into developing the
categories and identifying the relationships they have with each other. This is
a semester long project; it cannot be undertaken the night before or even the
week before it is due! You will need time for the notebook, which provides the
basis for categories, and incubation time for the development of the categories
and creation of the model.
Submit a typed, brief (one to two pages) description of your project (answering
the questions in number five) and have copies for everyone in the class. With
your permission, I will take photographs and/or videotape during your presen-
tation. If I take photos, I will try to give you a copy of the photograph for your
personal/professional use.
After each presentation, you and your classmates will do a quickwrite activity
in which you reflect on how the presentation has added to your learning of lan-
guage development, linguistic foundations of reading and writing processes,
cultural and linguistic processes, and the impact of your teaching for learners
from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.