The Private Eye - looking closely and thinking by analogy with jeweler's loupes and inquiry method for hands-on interdisciplinary science, art, writing, math, and more

Zinnia Zoom!
A Multi-modal Private Eye® Adventure with Zinnias*
from the classroom of Tami Biddington, 3rd Grade Teacher,
Imlay Elementary, Hillsboro, Oregon

This way to the gallery of Tami's students...

Before embarking on this zinnia adventure my class had used The Private Eye process of writing and drawing four separate times. (This is not essential, but did lead to the success of this project.)

Zinnias Bloom in Fall
I brought in to class a couple large vases full of zinnias, of several colors, cut from my yard. (These are easy flowers to grow during the summer and continue blooming well into the fall. This makes them a perfect object for a September or early October Private Eye adventure).

Before Loupes: Each student got to choose a zinnia to explore. Before handing out jeweler’s loupes, I gave them about 5 minutes to look and talk about what they were noticing. This can help front-load some students with ideas and help others that may simply struggle with starting tasks.

The drawing process moved from Naked-Eye drawing to loupe drawing small, black and white close-ups and then to enlargements of a small section of the drawing. (See the lesson, "Close, Closer, Closest” — a Georgia O’Keeffe style enlargement inThe Private Eye — 5x Looking / Thinking by Analogy, pp. 128-129.)

Writing: In addition to warm-up loupe-analogy lists as a group, independent work and sharing  — and, of course, teacher modeling, support, feedback, ideas on expanding and editing work — students each created a Sandwich Poem based on their personal Zinnia. This lesson uses the writing suggestion on page 105 of The Private Eye — 5x Looking / Thinking by Analogy, for writing Sandwich Poems. A sandwich poem uses a simple structure that begins and ends with the same word or phrase. Our poems began and ended with “Zinnia”.  For young writers this is empowering as they begin to write.  They know that the beginning and ending are already decided. Students refer to their personal observation lists of zinnias and the whole class chart of shared ideas. 

The magic of this [Private Eye] process is in the combination of content areas taught. The results are impressive finished pieces that warrant much celebration of students’ careful observation, unique discovery, individual creativity and purposeful interpretation.

*Or use any interesting flower.

This way to the gallery of Tami's students!

Copyright © The Private Eye Project The Private Eye is a registered trademark of The Private Eye Project
Sitemap      Contact Us Mission Statement