Alternate Activity 5: Observational Writing
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Items and tools for observation from Activity 3, To Look with Absolute Attention
- Writing paper and pencils/pens for all participants
- Optional: Clipboards for all participants
Description of Activity
This activity is designed to follow Activity 3, To Look with Absolute Attention. You might offer it concurrently with Activity 4, Observational Drawing, and give participants a choice of how to express their observations.
As participants complete their close observations (Activity 3), invite them to comment on what they have seen. What details have they noticed?
Explain that they will now have an opportunity to express their observations in words.
Hand out writing paper, pens/pencils (and clipboards, if you are using them). Invite participants to focus on one item or grouping of items. Suggest they look with care and write adjectives—for younger children, “describing words” —to record what they notice.
Encourage the group to maintain silence as they observe and write for at least five minutes. Then, gather the group together. Invite volunteers to share some of the words they wrote.
Elicit responses to the exercise using questions that suit the age make-up and other attributes of the group:
- How did writing help you notice the object more fully?
- Was there any way writing interfered with your ability to pay close attention?
- Was there a moment when you felt you were truly “looking with absolute attention?”
- What revelations did you have about the object you were drawing? (What did you notice about the object you drew, that you had never noticed before?)
- Has this experience changed your awareness of everyday miracles?
Including All Participants
Non-sighted people can participate by using tactile observation and a textured drawing medium, such as pastel. They—and others in the group—may also like to create three-dimensionally with modeling clay.