Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Writing With...Zen Pencils and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Zen Pencils is a must-need resource! I love it for so many reasons and here are a few:

1. Quotes turned into cartoons - These are short, visual pieces with so much to discuss. 
2. Critical thinking - There are so many things to discuss in these texts. There's the person who said the quote and learning about them, there's looking at how the quote is brought to life in the cartoon. There's using visual literacy to analyze. So great.
3. Translations - Many of the comics are translated into different languages. I teach dual language so I love that there are options in Spanish but there are also translations in Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Polish, Russian, French, Portuguese, and Turkish.

Students and I have been talking about activism and studying activists. This week we're also talking about failure. As we are finishing this trimester, I asked students to reflect on this school year, how they feel about themselves as learners, what goals they have for themselves for the rest of the school year, and what steps they need to take to achieve those goals. I gave students an option to share in Flipgrid or in a Google Form. Now we're creating learning mascots (I'll share more about this next week!) and we're discussing what it means to fail versus what it means to be a failure. We'll then go back to our goals and use our learning mascots and our deeper thinking about failure to move us into trimester three. 

To get myself prepared for this discussion, I did a one minute word association about perfection and then I did a two minute word association looking at the difference between what it means to fail versus to be a failure. 

I'll be sharing this with my students today and inviting them to think about these as well. We do restorative justice circles and the topic today will be, "When is a time in your life when you failed? What happened afterwards and what did you learn?" Then we'll look at this Zen Pencils cartoon of Life's Pursuit A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and do a free write and then discuss in small groups. And after that, we'll go back to our goals (hopefully with renewed energy!) and connect this all with our learning mascots. 

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was noted as saying: 

“If you fail, never give up
because F.A.I.L. means 'First Attempt In Learning'.
End is not the end, in fact E.N.D. means 'Effort Never Dies.'
If you get No as an answer,
remember N.O. means 'Next Opportunity', 
So let’s be positive.”

I'll be sharing this quote too. Woo hoo! I'm so energized for this. I'll share my slides and more details on this lesson in Patreon this weekend. And I'll share more about my learning mascot journey next week.

If you have a favorite Zen Pencils cartoon or go look through them and find one that stands out to you, I'd love to hear about which one it is and why! Please share in the comments. 

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