No two persons are the same
I have been having conversations in recent times about developing more creative, independent and evaluative responses to texts. I find my older students generally only want to regurgitate my ideas, or those found on Bitesize and Sparknotes. When I ask students to get personal or to be reflective they don’t seem to know what I mean. So this year for my KS3 classes I am going to ensure I build this into each unit. If you follow me on twitter, you will have seen me harping on about The Creativity Core – an American approach to text response and creative writing that requires independent thought and input. Do check out Daniel’s ideas – http://www.thecreativitycore.com/
I did this (below) yesterday as a practise run for some year 9 lessons on memoir and autobiography writing. Instead of simply creating a plan or a brainstorm of my ideas. I was challenged to present my ideas in a way that also represented me. The whole process becomes more personal and more independent. I suspect after a little practise with students, I won’t be handed a single piece of work that this is the same.
Once we have gotten used to this approach for ourselves, we can apply it to Plaith’s Daddy and Eminem’s Cleanin out my closet.
No two persons ever read the same book
In the middle of the night this idea and my early summer hols book art crafting kind of melted into one. You see, I have a bunch of texts in my classroom that are beyond tatty and have pages missing. I can’t use them for studying in lessons anymore. As I was thinking, I remembered stumbling across this (http://www.logolalia.com/alteredbooks/). Eureka moment. Perhaps I can use these battered old books for something a little more clever than just my innocent attempts at classroom art.
Our KS4 students do work experience in the September of year 11 (don’t ask me about the logic) so my class will be back in school for 3 lessons before they go off to the world of work for two weeks. I don’t have time to start a new unit with them so I’ll go back over our two exam texts and do some revision. Usually this would mean cuing up some exam prep.
Here is what I am going to do this year.
Each student will have a page from one of these tatty texts and their challenge will be to use the words on the page to show some of ideas and themes in novel.
Once we have done this, we will create a biographical text – like my own example above – for the ideas shown. If I really want to, I can then use this to build some essay writing skills.
It’s so simple. How is this any different from teaching students to find an quote in an exam extract? Well, it’s not, but it does involve wax crayons.
If you would like to be involved in our shared google document of “Creative Responses to Texts” please find me on twitter and let me know.