This week in RC training my instructor had us do an imagery exercise I do every year with my kids. She read us a long, image-rich book and when she was done we had to draw 4 images we made from the story. This was the most stressful experience all week! The minute she gave the directions I started stressing... will I remember 4 images? what if I don't? Will someone notice if I copy their images? will everyone learn that I have trouble concentrating on read-alouds?
As she started reading I was almost too stressed to listen to the story. It had no plot and so was hard to focus on images. Plus, I spent the whole time repeating images in my head so when she was done I'd be able to draw 4 images. Needless to say I missed most of the story. And I do not have fond memories of this story either, though I'm sure it was beautiful.
During our 'share with a partner' time I discovered all of the adults in the room had the same feelings. Everyone was whispering under their breath about how hard this was, and how much they disliked the activity. Most striking though was that almost all of us do this activity with our kids.
I've had GREAT results with this activity every year. I had my GMU intern do it this year and she had great results as well. Now that I've been on the other side of this activity I think I can find ways to moderate it to make it enjoyable for the kids as well as the adults. I'd hate to teach them to make mental images while also turning them off to books.