This week we focused on questioning for our learning targets. I find this topic be pretty central to the learning, since the best learning occurs when curiosity is aroused. Learning is essentially the process of gaining sought knowledge. I think questioning in the classroom should promote thinking that prompts the students to think about ideas in new ways. This is something that I kept in mind as I prepared for my grade 6 creative writing lesson.
My co-op asked me to teach a creative writing lesson on the theme of peace. I brought a variety of different pictures with me to my lesson and the class look at a few of them. Some of them were famous, protests against war, and some were lesser known photos about humanity harmonizing with nature. When we first started the lesson I asked the students what peace meant to them. A lot of them said it was the absence of war and getting along. When looking at these pictures I asked them to think about how peace was represented in the pictures. Then to go a little deeper, we talked about the people in them. What is each person thinking/feeling? What do they want? Is there conflict? If so who is benefiting. The three pictures below are the ones we talked about as a class.
I then divided the students into groups of four. I gave each group it’s own picture and they asked each other a variety of questions: What stories do you think are being told in this photo? What words come to your mind that define this photo? If you were in the photo and were a part of what was happening, how would you feel? How is peace represented in this picture? Is it shown? Or is it desired?
Once students dissected their pictures, they started working on some individual creative writing pieces. Some wrote poems, some wrote short stories, while others did character sketches. After about 25 minutes of writing they returned to their groups and shared what they wrote. I then had them make a group presentation. One person was to share the groups picture and talk about what was happening. One would talk about how it related to peace. Finally, two would share what they wrote with the class.
This lesson went extremely well, and I feel like it was my best one yet. I think the questioning process really helped to open up the students imagination about the various meanings each picture could convey. I was thoroughly impressed by what the students had written, and it showed how deep in thought the questioning process had brought them.
You can view the Lesson Plan, Powerpoint, and Assignment sheet for CR6.1 Creative writing lesson here.