Chickens and rainwater: Getting students to notice their worlds

The Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams


so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white



Returning to my guiding question, how do I get students to think like writers (and ban the phrase ‘I have nothing to write about’ from our vocabulary) and with the research in mind, I can give my students time to write (4-5 days a week) and a predictable routine for workshop. I can listen to their stories and allow them the freedom to choose their topics and genres. But how do I get students to become constant observers of their worlds? To notice details and become “enormously taken by the things anyone else would walk by?” Who taught William Carlos Williams to do these things?

Free write: What experiences can we give students so that they can practice noticing details and the things most people ignore? How can we encourage them to become life-long observers of their worlds?

Write for a couple of minutes and then please share your ideas at your table. Write down your favorite ones on a separate sheet of paper- I will add them to the blog!




About erica banks krug

I live in Wisconsin. I love cooking, eating kale, taking photographs, road trips and the Packers. I used to ride a ski lift to work. Now I work as a substitute teacher. But I dream of being able to call myself a "writer." You have to start somewhere....
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2 Responses to Chickens and rainwater: Getting students to notice their worlds

  1. Jim, Emily, Susan and Miriam says:

    We liked that you asked us for ways of doing this. We had to stop and think about ways to do this in our own teaching. In giving you ideas, we came up with lots of things we want to do as well. We loved that you used this poem and the way that you used it as a metaphor for noticing the small things. We are thinking about using this as a mentor poem in our classrooms (of all ages).

  2. Susan F. says:

    Wonderful job! We’d like to be in your classroom. Thank you for sharing your blogs!!!
    Susan, Miriam, Emily & Jim

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