Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slice of Life: Quality vs. Quantity

This morning I was reading Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. On page 66 she tells a story about a pottery teacher who told half his class that they would be graded only on the quantity of their work. He told the other half that they were to produce only one piece of pottery and they would be graded only on the quality of their work. At the end of the story, the work of the highest quality, out of all the pieces, were the pieces from the quantity group. This story led me to think about my students and my felting.

I am reminded that our students must write a lot to get better. I asked myself if I had my students write enough this year or did I spend a large amount of time having them work on one piece. Did I let them choose or did I assign the genre? Did I let them work on more than one piece or did I insist that they complete a piece before moving on to another? Were their Writer's Notebooks filled with ideas and attempts or were they given white paper to write on to turn in? Every June I think about what I will do differently next year. In September, I am going to have a discussion with my students - quality vs. quantity. Something tells me that they will clearly already know what I needed to be reminded. I want my students to produce their very best work, and I now clearly understand how to help them achieve that.

I am a needle felter. A while back I signed up to be a participant in a Peace Felt project. In this project each person is assigned a giver and a receiver. You are to create a piece of art that is at least 25% felt. This piece is to represent peace or unconditional love. You send your piece to your receiver and you receive a piece from a different giver. The goal is to spread worldwide peace and love. Since signing up for the project I have been thinking about and sketching my piece. I have NOT, however, been felting. After reading the pottery teacher's story this morning I will be needle felting daily. I want my receiver to receive a piece of high quality, and I now understand how to achieve that goal.

I am reminded of the saying,"Practice makes perfect." I am also reminded of the old joke, "How do you get to the Metropolitan Opera House?" "Practice, practice, practice."

1 comment:

  1. You have asked yourself some interesting questions. I may use them to ask teachers I work with during the year. "If you have time to read everything your students are writing, they are not writing enough," said Regie Routman in Writing Essentials. Something to think about.