18th last day: I’m really interested in finding ways of building divergent thinking in my students. I think it was on the Redesign My Brain series that someone said ‘at 5 years old, 80% of children have genius levels of divergent thinking; by 10 years old, they don’t’. (I should really look up the precise fact, but that was the general concept). Schools and teachers need to design activities, environments and dynamics that develop and encourage divergent thinking – it’s critical for all our futures.
Photo idea: teaching poetry writing has highlighted the different levels of divergent thinking ability in my students. Photograph incidents of great divergent thinking from students – create a file of different examples to help students who struggle with this, so they can visualise different strategies they could use.
19th last day: Such a full day, but I’m glad I extended it to attend the school’s music performance night. Seeing some of my students transcend the everyday and immerse themselves in another world for a few minutes, really made me reflect on the importance of seeing my students as whole, complex personas. My focus is in my classroom, but their priorities are likely to be elsewhere, at least periodically. Enable and acknowledge that. Find ways to utilise it in my classroom.
Photo idea: whenever I feel I have too much to do and too little time, I take a picture of it. It helps to objectify the problem – it helps to prioritise where to start, and helps clarify why there’s so much and ways to plan so it doesn’t happen again. In this case I photographed my pile of marking.
20th last day: Today’s realisation: rather than ask students questions, ask students to construct questions to ask other students to answer. The learning focus changes.
Photo idea: Incorporate current professional photographs into the classroom – this week I’m using these Wildlife Photography Award winners’ pics to improve poetry writing.
21st last day – juggling countless ideas. No time.
Photo idea: I give out “2 stars and a yoga cat stickers” to encourage students to ‘stretch’ themselves. Planning to scan them to make little jpg versions to attach to digitally submitted work.
22nd last day: it’s pure coincidence that the terrible NSW bushfires occurred on the day I guided my students to write bushfire poems. After analyzing Les Murray’s ‘Late Summer Fires’ poem, they wrote their own. In 10 minutes. I have 44 fantastic bushfire poems from 13 year olds who told me last week they couldn’t write poetry.
Photo idea: use photos to assist kids to write descriptive imagery. Simple, I know. But effective, whatever the subject. In this case they didn’t share ideas until they were finished – I think privacy triggered creativity and ownership of the text.
23rd last day: Today I asked some burning questions and came home with a clutch of descriptive, authentic bushfire poems. Ecstatic!
Photo idea: reflection. So important for learning (and teaching). Use a generic reflection picture (trees reflected in a river) or of people as a visual cue to students that it’s reflection time. Individual student reflection portraits for journal title page or reflective blog posts.
24th last day: time is simultaneously passing at super speed and in slow motion.
Photo idea: photograph resources to share with colleagues, or record for later reference. Sometimes I do this in libraries and bookshops.