My go-to question for readers and writers who don’t know where to go next is: What have you been thinking about lately?
That’s it. That one question works just as well on adults as it does on kids. It makes people think about who they are and where they are in their thinking. Whether it’s a theme, issue, or struggle, I can go to my library and present a handful of books to meet almost every reader’s needs. Struggling writers need to examine themselves in that same way.
This very blog, for instance, has so many posts about the importance of making connections with kids. Look here, here, and here, for just a few examples. There shouldn’t be any argument about prioritizing the hearts and minds of our students.
Take me, for example: I’m addicted to YouTube. My subscription list is a mile long and the list of topics is a mile wide.
When I really look at it though, it turns out most of my channels connect thematically.. My feed is full of builders and makers and I look forward to their progress videos like I do the next Game of Thrones episode. It’s not exactly “appointment TV,” but it’s pretty close.
Some of my favorites:
I love this channel produced by April Wilkerson (a Texan!) where she designs and builds everything from Adirondack chairs to her own gigantic workshop!!! This woman is an inspirational creator that shows me that I could learn how to do anything I put my mind to. Maybe this speaks to my need to build literate people.
TheCorvetteBen channel documents the restoration of cars, mostly C3 corvettes. As an owner of a 1970 Corvette, a family heirloom, I love watching a regular guy work on cars and save them from the trash heap. It’s cool to me that he works cars like the one I work on. Maybe this speaks to my need to save as many kids as I can.
Pure Living for Life shows the lives of a couple who sold everything, moved to Idaho, and started the process of building a timber frame house from scratch. A lot of this channel is about “grit” and “problem solving.” It reminds me of a major theme from our district’s Literacy Institute: the privilege to struggle.
Those are just three of the several dozen channels I watch, but the themes repeat themselves over and over.
What do you watch? What types of media attracts you and appeals to your interests?
Do we need to be aware of the media our students consume? Could deepening our awareness help us make stronger connections to the issues in which our students are interested?
I think so.
Charles Moore is struggling to get his grandfather’s corvette to drive. He is struggling to get in a summer reading rhythm because he can’t put down his iPad and he can’t convince himself to focus on reading One of Us is Lying. He wants to go sit in that river in Wimberley, TX already!!!