Our 16yos is working on an exploratory essay about cell phones. For the last portion of this essay, I wanted him to address the ways cell phones have impacted communication in our culture, but he wasn't going anywhere with the concept even though he had some good writing prompts. I decided to jump in with LTW even though my original plan was to let him finish this project before beginning a new curriculum.
I showed him how to put the concept in the form of an issue; i.e. whether cell phones have impacted/affected communication in our culture and then explained the ANI process. He just took off and filled the three columns with orginal and sometime quirky ideas. For example, in the interesting column, he noted that the young people at Winn Dixie where he works play ringtones in the break room and dance together. He moved dancing to ringtones to the affirmative column because it's a form of bonding. Then, I helped him sort the affirmative and negative columns. Ds is a math and numbers guy. He likes concrete, logical thinking. The process of coming up with something to say is often a struggle for him because it has always been a process that seems abstract. I think using the ANI chart and sorting worked because they gave him a way to look at an abstract idea in a concrete, measurable way. We even discussed how the work that he has done so far; i.e. research on the history of cell phones, medical problems, new features, and environmental concerns, might fit into the arrangement for a complete persuasive essay.
I tell my children not to label experiences, but I will do that now by calling the entire experience powerful. This is exactly what I envisioned for our homeschool -- a process/method to make communicating ideas less frustrating. Often our children seem to freeze when I try to guide a discussion or the end result seems a reflection of my ideas instead of theirs. The ANI process allowed me to function as a guide and mentor, what I've always wanted and what I also think is best for the process of learning.
We will begin working through the LTW lessons next week, and I want to make sure that I correctly understand how to use other invention forms. Do we put the ideas and information generated from all of the forms on the ANI chart, and where do we put them? Is the placement of ideas determined by the flow of the discussion? For example, using the question, "What kind of thing is X?" and applying it to the issue of whether Edmund should have followed the White Queen, you might put the ideas generated from a discussion about what kind of person she is in the negative column because she's a wicked witch who has done horrible things, which Lucy tells Edmund. In addition, following witches is usually a bad idea. Also, the White Queen reveals her true nature in their first encounter by calling Edmund an idiot, showing anger, etc. etc. Am I on the right track?
You're on the right track! (Sorry this is a delayed answer, I was out-of-comission-sick most of last week!)
ALL your invention goes into those three ANI columns. Sometimes it seems to make sense to put them in both, so do it! Sometimes, you'll move something later from the "I" column to another.
For example, you might, through definition, say that the White Witch is a witch. Then you might put in the N column that following witches is a bad idea. Following people who mistreat us is also a bad idea. (You might have already put the examples of her mistreating Edmund into the I column.)
You might do a comparison, and when you compare the White Witch to a wall gain the insight that they are both strong and powerful. That can go into the I column, but then we rush to the N column to add that following a wicked person with great power is even worse than following a wicked person with no power.
The topic of authority may help us to realize that we are commanded to walk with wise men if we want to become wise (which we do). That will give us something for the N column, because she isn't wise, so no one should follow her.
The topic of circumstance may tell us Edmund is out in the snow (I column) but that can still support the N list, because he has other ways to get warm. He doesn't have to follow the Witch, he can go back to the wardrobe.
Does that help?
Yes, Camille, that does make sense. I want ds to finish his exploratory essay, which is going to be turned into an original oratory for speech class, so we can dig in to the LTW lessons. We did the LTW introductory lesson without any problems. I actually use that type of discussion but with a different format when I tutor or teach workshops.
Thank you for the response.
Thanks for your encouraging comments. Truly, I don't think I can add anything to what Camille said. Any invention topic can be used to gather information and it can be used for any kind of essay. When you come up with ideas, put them in the I column unless they obviously go in A or N. Then think about what you have in the I column and ask yourself if you think it should be moved to A or N. Giving yourself time to reflect is one of the most important means to great thinking and writing.
Camille, thank you for providing some good examples of that.
Keep up the good work, ladies!