19Feb2015 First Thinkering Day of the Semester

Thinkering Day starts up again! We are doing a play again with the folks from SF Shakes (a youth Shakespeare group), and then in the afternoon, the kids will be doing digital art class using Paper 53 on their iPads and a “Everything’s an Argument” class with me, exploring classical rhetoric and argument. Luke was a little nervous but mostly very excited about Thinkering Day starting up again. I was even more nervous than he was about the first class, since I didn’t know if the kids would like doing rhetoric, but it all went very well and they seemed to be engaged and interested. I copied the email that I sent the parents below the pictures.

































Hi everyone,

It was a great start to Everything’s An Argument, the kids were intrigued by the idea of exploring the art of persuasion and we had some good starting discussions.

I know we don’t usually have homework for Thinkering, and I am making it optional, but we ran out of time on Thursday, and I think with a little time at home, we can progress a little quicker and cover everything that I would like to cover this semester. Besides, I will have Smartie lollipops for anyone who brings in completed homework – will that help?

1. I’d like the kids to just be observant of how many times they use persuasion or someone else uses persuasion on them every single day. We need good starting arguments to apply some of the tactics and tools, so if the kids can bring in a few examples next week, that would be great. Examples would be: making a case for a later bed time, reading an article that changes your mind about an issue, an advertisement that nudges you into buying something, or even arguing with a sibling about whose turn it is to set the table.

2. We also started imitation work with the opening sentence to Madeline:

In an old house in Paris
that was covered with vines
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

Since we only had a few minutes left, we primarily did transposition, or rearrangement of the sentence. I’d like the kids to play with synonym substitution. For example, I could write:

There was a decrepit mansion in the City of Light that was overgrown with ivy and housed twelve small children who liked to travel in two parallel lines.

It isn’t necessary to strictly stay with the original structure, the kids have complete freedom to change anything and everything around. If they enjoy this and want to do more, they can also play with changing the grammar (past tense to future, making main clauses the sub-clause and on and on), condensing the sentence to its bare minimum, or amplifying the sentence by adding original content. For example, an amplification would be something like:
In an old house on a crooked street in the grand city of Paris, with green and twisting vines growing all over the shingles and sides, there resided twelve little and orphaned girls who were taught by the nuns to always travel about in two straight lines.

Again, this is all optional – email me if you have any questions or concerns.


Leave a Comment