Thursday, March 22, 2018

Quick Write Inspiration, Thanks to @NatGeo

I'm attempting to write everyday in March.Today is post 22 of 31.

Quick writes are a daily part of our classroom workshop in seventh grade. Anything is fair game for a quick write: picture books, poems, images, infographics, prompts, articles, songs, videos, and more. Our quick writes are truly quick, around three minutes. We revisit them, revise, and extend them into longer writing pieces when we have time.

Today our quick write came from my visit to Instagram the day before. I often tell my students that two Instagram accounts I suggest they follow (if they are on that platform) are @natgeo and @usinterior. Well, yesterday on the Nat Geo account, I saw this image:

National Geographic

This was the caption:

natgeoPhoto by @amivitale With a heavy heart, I share this news and hope that Sudan's legacy will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet. Yesterday, wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira, 26 comforted Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino left on this planet moments before he passed away. Sudan lived a long, healthy life at the conservancy after he was brought to Kenya from @safari_park_dvur_kralov in the #Czechrepublic in 2009. He died surrounded by people who loved him at @olpejeta after suffering from age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. Sudan has been an inspirational figure for many across the world. Thousands have trooped to Ol Pejeta to see him and he has helped raise awareness for rhino conservation. The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet are his direct descendants. Research into new Assisted Reproductive Techniques for large mammals is underway due to him. The impact that this special animal has had on conservation is simply incredible. And there is still hope in the future that the subspecies might be restored through IVF. 

In 2009, I had the privilege of following this gentle hulking creature on his journey from the snowy Dvur Krulov zoo in the Czech Republic to the warm plains of Kenya, when he was transported with three of his fellow Northern White Rhinos in a last ditch effort to save the subspecies. It was believed that the air, water, and food, not to mention room to roam, might stimulate them to breed—and the offspring would then be used to repopulate Africa. At the time, there were 8 Northern white rhinos alive, all in zoos. Today, we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive mankind. Follow @olpejeta and @amivitale to learn more what we can all do to #coexist.

I had the kids write off the image first - what story did they see being told? We wrote, then shared what we were writing with a neighbor. Then I read the caption to them. This did lead to some interesting conversations about what IVF was and how in the world that would work - if the other two White Rhinos left were older, what would they do? More than anything, my students (and I) were captivated by the last sentence in the caption. 

Today, we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive mankind. 

That might earn its own quick write when we come back from break. Heartbreaking what mankind has done to the earth. 

Do you do quick writes with your students? If so, what are your favorite sources for inspiration?