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TITLE: WRITE? NO WAY! AUTHOR: Sara A. Reinke, Youth Services Center GRADE LEVEL: Appropriate for grades 7-12. OVERVIEW: For many students the very thought of "having to write" is threatening. They visualize the bleeding papers they have had returned to them in the past, and get so bogged down in having to "get it right" that they would rather not even try. This activity is intended to be used in an introductory phase of teaching writing. It introduces students to a discovery of right brain-left brain differences first, then invites them to break down some of their self-criticism enough to try writing again...and see what happens. OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to: 1. Describe the experience of trying to go against their accustomed pattern of doing a simple task. 2. Describe theories of differences between left-brain and right-brain styles of thinking. 3. Describe how their own inner critic slows down valid self-expression. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: 1. Have students gather in small groups of three to four members. 2. Give each group a small hand-held mirror, pencil, and papers with a printed design. The design should be a set of parallel lines (spaced approximately 3/4 inch apart) which form a modified rectangle. The modification of the rectangle consists of a series of sharp-angled "jogs" at each corner which are identical in size and shape. 3. Ask students to hold the mirror by the paper and to look only into the mirror, not directly at the paper. Instruct them to draw a line in between the parallel lines all around the design figure on the paper. They should plan to keep their pencils moving constantly, if at all possible. 4. Some students will find this quite simple, others will struggle, and others will experience a near complete block at some point in the activity. Make sure each student has a chance to try the activity. 5. Process how it felt to struggle with such a simple task. 6. Give a quick multiple choice quiz filled with items designed to sort out those who tend to be more left-brained or more right-brained in their learning style. Have students score their papers immediately and react. Hand out visually rich description of different learning styles as well as a words-only description. 7. Read together description of the "Know it all" and the Silent Partner (taken from Henriette Anne Klauser's Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, p. 29) as introduction to becoming less self-critical and allowing freer expression as a valid voice. 8. Introduce concept of rapid-writing for ten minutes as one means of releasing natural expression--writing without your critic.