Common Ground

This week as we launched our writing workshop, I wrote with my students about riding my bike, about New York, and about the idea of finding common ground with others.  My bike has been a constant in my life since I was about 5 years old.  Not the same bike, of course.  Living in New York is a part of my past that keeps feeling farther and farther away and yet that distance reminds me of how connected I am to the ideas that mattered to me then in my  life.  The idea of finding common ground with others is one of those constants that mattered then, and matters now.

I hope that the four days my students and I have had together with our writing has given us some common ground.  My ambition was for us to have a template, or a framework for the concept of layered inquiry through writing.  If it isn’t yet evident to everyone, at least I feel as if I see it clearly enough to think about a number of other ways I can get people to look at their own thinking and translate that into things they write, explore, and turn into texts that have meaning for themselves and their readers.

What do you think you’ll write?

How might you approach that topic?

Taking that approach, what might you do?

What are some other ways of seeing this?

The answer to each question opens up a world of options, a whole new set of layers into which we could dig down.  The common ground I hope we are exploring is that our thinking and our writing is complex, and that most things can be seen more clearly when we look at them a lot of different ways.