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Brian Dettmer’s altered book. He ‘folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.’ A ‘complication’ of pages and a literal ‘application’ of folding! As Dettmer exposes the layers of the book, so we expose the roots of the word as we dig through the layers of time! ‘I work with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories’ (Dettmer)

Early morning, before school, and only, as a student informed me, twenty four teachings days left!

Now, regularly small contingents of students drift into the classroom to review words. I have coffee; they seem to wake up with words! I remember a dear friend who used to begin our word study work-shops with an introduction reminiscent of AA meetings, “Hello my name is Dorothy and I used to teach phonics!” I too have taught spelling in a variety of ways.. ‘Look- Say- blooming Cover- Write -Check’, (no explanation as to why a word is structured in a particular way, no recognition of morphemes) individual lists, mnemonics…  all disconnected lists, surface activities and games that get nowhere near the meaning, history, structure and interrelatedness of words. No joy, exuberance or intellectual engagement.  In using those approaches at no time ever did students come running up to me during the day with a connection, a wondering or a discovery. At no time did students come into the classroom during their free time to discuss and analyze words.

This below is a fairly typical morning at this stage of the year. I love the way that  students straggle in from about 7.20 onwards and just enter into whatever wordy discussion is in flow. They all have the foundational skills to engage in this orthographic thinking and research.. all before 8.00 am!!

So welcome to the chaos of room 255 (must re -stick  posters that are sliding and curling floorwards and clear clutter!!) this Tuesday morning, April 31:

This begins quietly with one student wanting to review her understandings of the word exploitation and helping another to make sense of her research about the root and the many bases springing from this in PDE (Present Day English).

Part two shows further thinking and then planning for next steps as I accidentally had kept the recording going.

Below Alexis shares his observation he had made immediately after I turned off  the camera!

See more of Dettmer’s book sculptures here and on his site Brian Dettmer. I love the bending, folding, cutting of words and images to create new meaning.

Read The Guardian article here

Be amazed by the complexity ( a word to explore tomorrow with the ‘Early Morning Word Drifters’ – great name for a band!!)

A word hoard revealed -arranged , rearranged – O the infinite possibilities and permutaions of language! O the brilliance and surgeon-like precision of Dettmer.

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