Inspired by my friend @triciabarvia, and her blog post Steal Like an Artist: A Swipe File of Mentor Texts, I could't help but think that digital devices such as tablets and phones have been subtly encouraging us "to swipe" the ideas all along.
If we attend conferences we have all seen people take photos of slides. I know people have saved "images" of cute cupcakes, classroom design, and home design. Pinterest became a bit of a crowdsourced Swipe File for teachers, home cooks, et al.
Yet, the phones in our pockets can also hold a lot of power in personalized swipe files for writers. For the purpose of this post, I created a photo album called "Swipe File" and started moving photos over of ideas I have "swiped" from other teachers, writers, and artists on Twitter or from a conference. I can feel the influences on my thinking becoming organize themselves in my brain as I do it.
Showing our kids how to organize a digital swipe file for themselves--right in their photo album--is a positive forward in promoting the "phone" as the modern equivalent of the paper and pencil notebook--a place to capture ideas. I had kids ask me to go to the library to print something that wanted to place in their analog swipe file--which is fine--but we don't always have that file on us.
Curating specific spaces for ideas so that we might go back to think and write about those ideas is a critical step in teaching young writers to invest in a process.
This one small move strikes me as an easy yet powerful moment of transfer waiting for all of us and all of our students.