Do You Look? Do You See?

“Seeing is different from looking: in seeing we deliberately select from the environment. Seeing is essential to the artist and scientist as it is to the writer.”  Donald Graves, Bring Life into Learning

I have to practice seeing. We all know our days are busy.  Sometimes too busy to see what is right in front of us.  We have to raise our own awareness of what we see and what we simply look at.

So this week, I choose to see the hydrangeas.  I sketched to see the dried hydrangeas that have held their purple color for two years now.  I sketched to see the freshly cut deep purple burgundy hue of the hydrangea from rogue bush in the front of the house.  I sketched to see rosy shade of the hydrangea cut from the poolside garden.

While I sketched, my mind wandered.  I let it wander.  I found myself wondering, how is it that we create spaces for children to see in school?  Are we so busy in our schools that we fail to take time to teach into seeing?  If we believe what Donald Graves wrote, “Seeing is essential to the artist and scientist as it is to the writer.” then maybe we need to create space for seeing.

I have to practice seeing. We all know our days are busy.  Sometimes too busy to see what is right in front of us.  We have to raise our own awareness of what we see and what we simply look at.

6 thoughts on “Do You Look? Do You See?”

  1. I’ve been thinking about seeing too. Two of my coaching partner teaches have been wrestling with a growth conundrum with students. The 2nd teacher was noticing that her young second graders couldn’t write the beginning of stories. It occurred to me that perhaps they need to slow down and take a closer look at beginnings, really noticing. Isn’t that seeing, noticing.

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  2. I’ve never seen (See what I did there?!!?) this Graves quote before. There certainly is a difference between seeing and looking… just like there is between listening and hearing. Thanks for making me think about this important sense — and its parallel to writing — today.

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  3. In another networking space (Mastodon), I often take part in a version of Slice of Life called SmallStories, where seeing is everything, and noticing the details and noticing people is the heart of the writing. It takes practice. It is important.
    Kevin

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  4. I believe my post today is an example of “seeing.” I made a picture story of a walk I recently took that spawned a spontaneous post about the changing of one season to the next. I find walking while seeing to be very calming, even meditative. I no longer have a classroom (retired), but I’d love to know how the idea of seeing was handled by you and your students.

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  5. You know when you come into a store and a salesperson asks if you need help? My standard answer is “no thanks, just looking.” Your post makes me ask, is that what I really mean? Am I even looking at all? Am I seeing what’s on display and making connections that matter?
    Once in a while I can stop and see the students in front of me. They are each a marvel in their own right. I wonder how often we take the time to see our students this way.

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