The Urbana Free Library
Session 2006-005



Name The Urbana Free Library
Web site http://urbanafreelibrary.org
Location Urbana, Illinois, USA
Community Suburban
Type Public Library


Subjects creative writing
Grades gr. 3-7
Students ~15


Title Double Take: or Up Close and Personal with Bugs for the Sake of Art
Insects cicada and small butterflyl
Description Double Take: or Up Close and Personal with Bugs for the Sake of Art For this workshop session, I will be asking the students to consider what it means to take a closer look at something, as writers have their readers look at ordinary things in unusual ways. In January, when the students brought in their bug samples, I took digital pictures of the specimens. Our next session, we will begin with looking at the digital photographs of the bugs: writing down what we see, what do we think about what we see, do we have other questions? What kind of adjectives can you use to describe the specimens? Then, we will look at the microscope images and ask the same questions. We will also come up with adjectives and descriptions using comparisons such as similes and metaphors. When the kids have developed a critical mass of description and observation, we will use our information to compose poems – for example, an “Ode to an Insect” (in honor of Valentine’s Day, of course). Finally, we will wrap-up our session with a brief discussion about the differences and similarities in our observations, and the advantages in each. The learning environment is an informal setting, as we sit in a circle (everyone on the inside of the circle, no one on the outside). Participation is voluntary, but I rotate around the circle clockwise to ensure everyone who wants to have a turn to speak is invited to during specific activities. Each session of Write On! is a stand-alone program, which allows for busy students to attend when their schedules allow, and for new students to enter any point during the year. From a mailing list of over 30 children, a steady number of 15 participants have attended the workshops, some regular attendees and some new. The students are mostly from Urbana, with some from Champaign and Mahomet. The group consists of a majority of girls, with 3-5 boys attending. The racial mix of the group includes Caucasian, Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and African-American children. I will submit an article about this project to the library’s newsletter (sent to all Urbana teachers), as well as to Cultural Connections, a newsletter about cultural arts education that is distributed to all of the teachers in Champaign-Urbana.


Where did you hear
about Bugscope?
News Gazette and YIPPEE! collaboration