Description: This proposal is organized around the myth of Europe through the use of a magnificent painting by the Bulgarian painter/illustrator Svetlin Vassilev and an extract from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The thinking routine used is See-Think-Wonder. Students distinguish among Myths/Legends/Fairy Tales, practise observing and speaking while reflecting on the myth of Europe.
Level:Intermediate+ Learners:11+ Theme: Myths, Legends, Fairytales, Europa myth Language: Simple present, present continuous, past forms Skills: Observing, describing, group discussion, speaking, writing Materials: painting/definitions slides, downloadable worksheets.
Show your students Vassilev’s “Europa“.
What do you see?
What do you think about it?
What does it make you wonder?
Ask them also to guess the title of the painting. Students can work individually, in groups or in pairs. When I tried this routine with my students we worked in groups. Their ideas invloved:
Write on the board: Myth-Legend-Fairy Tale. Show your students the slide below and ask them to guess which one is a Myth, which a Legend and which a Fairy Tale.
Show the definitions and ask them which narrative form each definition is about.
Reveal the title of the painting and the name of the painter. Have them work in pairs to complete the activities in the worksheet.
Description: This lesson proposal is organized around the theme of school through the use of paintings, illustrations, photography, and video. The thinking routines used are: Chalk Talk, What makes you say that?, See-Think-Wonder.
Level: Intermediate+ Learners: 11+ Theme: School Language: School related vocabulary Skills: Making connections, observing, describing, watching, speaking, note taking Materials: Paintings/illustrations/photographs slides, a short video
Show your students the four visual prompts. Ask them what they have in common. Elicit that all four of them deal with school. Write the word school on the board.
Introduce the Chalk Talk routine. Place medium sheets of paper on desks around the class. Place markers at each table.
Give learners a general prompt to reflect on like:
”What are your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and questions about school?”
Invite them to move around the classroom, write down their thoughts, read what others have written and comment on the CHALK TALK papers. Point out to students that this routine has to be performed SILENTLY. They can move around freely, reading and commenting, but they cannot talk during the routine.
This is how a group of students I worked with responded to this routine.
Step 3 Show your students the four visual prompts again, and brainstorm a plenary discussion. Ask questions like:
What do you see? Do you think the school settings are modern or old? How are they similar or different to your classrooms? Forms of punishment? What strikes you as strange? What titles would you give?
Show students Jon McCormack’s photograph, and ask:
I used post it notes to make students’ answers visible and it looked like this:
Write 101,000,000 on the board. Have students guess what the number refers to. Tell them that it is the number of children out of primary education worldwide according to the 2008 UNESCO global database and statistics. Show the pie chart, and ask individual learners to read the numbers aloud. Ask where the biggest and the smallest numbers appear. Ask them why they think this happens.
101 million children of primary school age are out of school
Tell them that the photographs they saw were children in rural southwest Kenya who use Kindles in their classroim, as part of the Kilgoris Project. Explain what a Kindle is if they are unfamiliar with it (a thin, lightweight, electronic device for reading downloaded books, newspapers or magazines).
Ask students to write, in groups, 3-4 questions they would like to ask about the Kilgoris project. Tell them that they are going to watch a short video about it, and they can see if any of their questions are answered. Show the video.
Description: This proposal is organized around the theme of hope through the use of Emily Dickinson’s poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers. The thinking routine is Creative Questions.
Language: Hope related vocabulary, expressing hope about the present and future
Skills: Parts of the speech identification, identifying and making metaphors, writing questions, familiarizing with poetic language, exploring creatively the theme of hope
Materials: Short video, visual prompts
Show your students the tagxedo of the poem and ask them to guess what the poem is about. Keep a visible record of students’ guesses.
Organize your students in groups and ask them to classify as many words as they can in 3 categories: nouns, adjectives, verbs. Go around the class and help with vocabulary if needed or advise students to look up the unknown words in the dictionary. Allow 15 minutes and get feedback. Note: sore (very great or severe) abash (make ashamed, embarrassed, or self-conscious) perch (rest on a perch).
Show the wordle of the title. Tell your students that there are three words missing. Ask them to guess which are the missing words and write what they think the title of the poem is. Allow 5 minutes and get feedback.
Reveal the title of the poem. Explain that it’s a 19th century poem written by Emily Dickinson, a famous American poet.
Tell students that they’re going to watch a video of the poem which is an example of kinetic poetry. They should try to reproduce the poem by memory. Show the video once. Ask them to write down as much of the poem as they can remember. Show for a second or third time. Allow time for the students to write the complete poem and get feedback.
Ask students to find the rhyming words in the poem (soul-all, heard-bird, storm-warm, sea-me, extremity-sea-me). Explain the use of dashes (pauses and breaks). Read out the poem to them once. Then have some students who feel confident enough read it aloud. Ask them if there are any points they still can’t understand and if they like the poem.
Step 7 Ask what they think the basic metaphor of the poem is (hope-bird) and if they can find any other metaphors (gale/storm-life’s hardships). Write on the board: Hope is … and brainstorm other metaphors for hope.
You can have an idea of how my students responded to this step here.
Step 8 Write on the board: financial crisis/world peace/our planet’s future/my family. Pair your students and ask them to write what they hope about each theme beginning with the phrase: I hope + present/can. Allow 5 minutes and get feedback.
Show the 3 quotes on hope. Ask students to talk about which one they like most and why.
Then show the mixed-media works of art below by Rebecca Vavic and ask them which phrases in each one best express their hope attitudes.
Put your students in groups and tell them to discuss and write what they think the people in each photo hope. Allow a few minutes for each photo and then show the next.
Work as a whole class and brainstorm a list of questions about the theme of hope. Ask students to choose one of the questions, and imaginatively explore it. They can do this by writing a story, a poem, drawing a picture, creating a collage. At the end of the activity ask your students: What new ideas do you have about the theme of hope that you didn’t have before?
You can have a look at how my students responded to the Creative Questions routine here.
I hope you find this proposal worth experimenting with.
Description: This lesson proposal is organized around the theme of bullying through the use of a detail from the painting “Children’s Games” by the Flemish 16th century painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a powerful painting, Bullying by the American painter, illustrator and film maker Matt Mahurin, and a short film, “Mark”, produced within the framework of the UNICEF C4D strategic process. The thinking routines used are: Perceive-Believe-Care about, What makes you say that?, and Headlines.
Level:Intermediate-Upper intermediate Learners: Tweens, early teens Theme: Bullying Language: Bullying related vocabulary, expressing opinions Skills: Observing and describing paintings, building explanations, speaking, watching a short film Materials: Slides, a short film, worksheet
Show your students the detail from Bruegel’s painting. Tell them to imagine they are the boy in the centre of the painting and ask them:
What can the boy perceive?
What might the boy believe?
What might he care about?
If students have difficulty with perceive provide alternatives (realize, understand). Ask individual students for feedback and keep a class chart/list with students’ different perspectives and viewpoints (Have a look at some pictures of practice here).
Reveal the title and the name of the painter. Explain that it is a detail from a painting which depicted children’s games in the 16thcentury. Ask: What kind of game do you think it is? Do you think all the children are having fun? Encourage them to justify their answers. Explain that what they see is the penalty of “bumbouncing” (bouncing someone’s buttocks on planks) which was quite painful and unpleasant. Ask them:
Why do you think they punish the boy? Do you believe it’s fair? Would you treat your friends/classmates like that?
Show your students Matt Mahurin’s painting. Ask them:
What’s going on?
What do you see that makes you say that?
Encourage individual answers. If needed scaffold students by continually asking the follow-up question after a student gives an interpretation. Elicit explanatory statements by drawing attention if needed to details like body language (tight fists), surroundings (gloomy colours, clouds, edge of a cliff), the shadows at the bottom right part of the painting. Make a chart or keep an ongoing list of explanations posted in the classroom.
Ask students to guess what the title of the painting is.
Reveal the title of the painting and the name of the painter. Ask your students how these two paintings make them feel.
Write on the board the different forms of bullying: Physical, Verbal, Social, Cyber Bullying. Show the slide and ask your students to identify them. Hold a plenary discussion.
Step 6 Pair your students again and ask them to complete the first activity in the worksheet. Go around the classroom and help them with vocabulary if needed or advise them to look up the unknown words in the dictionary.
Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film about bullying. Organize them in small groups and ask groups to have a look at the questions in the second activity of the worksheet before watching the film. Show the video and allow 10 minutes for the groupsto discuss and answer the questions. Show the video again and get feedback.
Step 8 Ask your students: If you were to write a headlineabout bullying now that would capture the most important aspect of the issue, what would that be? Let your students expand on it creatively. You can have a look at some pictures of practice here. I hope you find this proposal worth experimenting with.
Learners: All ages Theme: war/peace Language: war/peace related vocabulary, narrative tenses, might+infinitive, might have+past participle, present tense for dynamic narrative Skills: Observing and describing, speaking, watching a short film, creative expression, making connections, developing metaphoric thinking Materials: a short video, a short film, quotes slides, visual prompts
Show your students Picasso’s Guernica. Give the name of the artist and the title of the painting. Ask them to look at the painting for 30 seconds and make a list of 10 words or phrases about any aspect of what they see. Allow 5 minutes for the students to write down their list and then have them share their words or phrases with the rest of the class. Then repeatthe activity. You can use a circle map to make the brainstorming visible.You can have a look at some pictures of practice here.
Tell your students to look more carefully at the painting and ask them what they See-Think-Wonder about it (What do you see? What are your thoughts? What does it make you wonder?). This can be done individually, in pairs or in groups depending on the multitude of ideas you want to generate. Allow 10 minutes and get feedback. Keep a visible record of students’ observations, interpretations and wonderings.
You can have a look at some pictures of practice here.
Ask your students to classify what they can see in the painting in 3 groups: humans, animals objects. Then, ask them: What colours do you see? What shapes do you see?
Tell your students that they are going to watch a 3D video of the painting that will take them inside the work of art. Ask them to make a note of any additional things that they find interesting or important. Show the video. Then, allow 5 minutes for the students to complete their notes and get feedback.
Ask your students: how does the painting make you feel?
Introduce briefly the historical facts behind the painting: in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, Nazi Germany supported its fascist ally Francisco Franco and bombed Guernica, the ancient capital of the Basque region in northern Spain. The town was utterly devastated by the aerial bombings and served for the Nazis as a blueprint for terror bombings of civilian populations. Picasso created Guernica to show the true horrors of war for innocent civilians.
Show the quotes and let your students guess whether they refer to war or peace.
Show them the visual prompts and ask them to identify whether they symbolize war or peace. Ask them: What makes you say that? to encourage justifications for their responses.
You can have a look at some extracts from my 6th grade primary students’ learning journals here.
Show students the picture below.
Organize them in groups and ask them to choose one of the 3 questions: 1. If this picture is the beginning of a story, what might happen next? 2. If this picture is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might happen next? 3. If this picture is the endof a story, what might the story be?
Ask them to write at least 5 sentences about the question they have chosen using might+infinitive or might have+past participle. Allow 10 minutes for the groups to write their sentences and get feedback.
You can have a look at how students responded to this routine,here.
Tell your students that this picture is from a short film called “Chromophobia”. Explain that Chromophobia means “fear of colour”. Tell students that after watching they will have to write a short narrative of what happens in the film. Show the film.
In the same groups ask students to write a short narrative using Simple Present. Allow 20 minutes and get feedback.
Ask your students to work individually, in pairs or in groups. Then, let them decide what they wish to represent: war or peace. Tell them to select a colour that they feel represents the core ideas they have identified in the themes of war/peace. Have them explain and justify their choices in writing. Then, ask them to select a symbol that they feel represents the core ideas they have identified. They should explain and justify their choices in writing. Finally, ask them to select an image that they feel represents the core ideas they have identified (students need not worry about their drawing; they can complete a simple sketch).
Ask them to explore creatively their ideas and choices and share them with the rest of the class. You can have a look at some pictures of practice here. A few things about Raul Servais’ Chromophobia:
Description: This lesson proposal is organized around the theme of Autism and Asperger syndrome through the use of a magnificent in its detail work of art by the Australian Steven Coventry, an artist with Asperger’s and a touching short film, “Q & A” by StoryCorps. The thinking routine used is I used to think…, but now I think…
Level: Intermediate-Upper Intermediate
Learners: All ages
Theme: Asperger syndrome and Autism
Language: Autism and Asperger related language, expressing opinion, may + infinitive
Skills: Observing and describing, speaking, watching a short film, developing reasoning abilities, recognizing cause and effect relationships
Materials: slides, a short video, worksheet, interview transcript
Write the word Autism on the board and brainstorm your students around the theme
Show your students Steven Coventry’s painting and hold a plenary discussion around the work of art by asking questions such as:
What do you think it is? Do you like it?
Can you find a title?
Encourage your students to use language of expressing opinion such as:
I think… I believe… I suppose… In my opinion… As far as I am concerned… As I see it… It seems to me that… In my point of view…
Tell your students that the title of the painting is Blue Butterflies Tongue. Then, show them the photo and ask them if they would ever think of drawing a butterfly’s tongue like this.
Explain that what they see is a work of art by an artist who has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Write on the board: If we want to accept and embrace any person within the autism spectrum we have to think out of the box. Have your students express their opinion about what the idiom think out of the box means (think freely, creatively, imaginatively, unusually). Ask them if they agree with the statement.
Tell your students that they’re going to watch a short video about Asperger with the title Q & A, which is based on an interview. Ask them to predict who will be the interviewer and who the interviewee. Allow 5 minutes and then show the video once.
Let students compare their predictions. Then, ask them how the video made them feel.
Let your students in the same groups and tell them that they’re going to watch the video again and that they can ask you to stop it at any point and discuss vocabulary or expressions. Show the video.
Ask groups a) to discuss the statements in the worksheet and decide whether they’re true or false and b) write as many sentences as they can using may + infinitive to describe Aspergers. Help them with vocabulary. Allow 20 minutes for the groups to complete the activities and get feedback.
Show the autism awareness posters and quotes and ask them to discuss them in small groups.
Give students the transcript of the interview. Tell them to have a more careful look at it at home and ask them to write a short paragraph where they should reflect on their thinking about the theme of Autism and/or Asperger by using the stems:
Description: This proposal is organized around the theme of urbanization through the use of 2 works of art by Cyril E. Power and LS Lowry, 20th century English artists of the emerging modern city, three urbanization infographics, and a short video on urbanization and the evolution of cities by Vance Kite on TEDEd. The Visible Thinking routines used are: What Makes You Say That, See-Think-Wonder, and Connect-Extend-Challenge.
Level: Intermediate-Upper Intermediate Learners: All ages Theme: Urbanization Language: Urbanization related vocabulary Skills: Observing and describing, drawing inferences, understanding alternatives and multiple perspectives, speaking, watching a short video, making connections between prior ideas and new knowledge
Materials: Paintings slides, infographics, a short video Step 1
Show students each painting and ask them: What’s going on? What do you see that makes you say that? You can use a tree map to document students’ answers.
Brainstorm students around the common elements in the 2 paintings. Elicit that both of them deal with aspects of urban life. Ask them a) how they think the people in the paintings feel, and b) how they themselves feel by looking at the paintings.
Show your students the infographic below. Have them work in groups and answer the following questions in writing. Then, hold a plenary discussion.
Where were the first cities?
What did the first settlements depend on?
What happened from the 18th to the 20th century?
Where is most of the urbanization taking place?
What are some of the issues related with urbanization?
Show your students the following image. Ask them what they think it is about. Get answers from the whole class. Tell them that it is a 15” UNICEF infographic of 100 years of urban growth. Follow the link and show the infographic. Have your students name the countries where most of the urbanization is taking place.
Show students the photograph below and ask: What do you see? What do you thinkabout it? What does it make you wonder?
Write on the board: How can future cities adapt to growing populations? Brainstorm students around this question.
Tell students they are going to watch a short video on the past and future evolution of cities. Ask them to focus on the suggestions put forward regarding the ways cities might adapt to growing populations. Show the video (this part starts at 3:00). If needed show for a second time.
Suggestions: adequatefood/sanitation/education/sustainable growth/environment protection/food production might move to vertical farms, skyscrapers, roof top gardens/power from multiple sources of renewable energy/vertical residencies instead of single family homes/self-contained buildings/smaller self sufficient cities focused on local and sustainable production
Organize your students in groups. Ask them to review all the ideas and information explored concerning the theme of urbanization. Then ask them to think about these questions:
How are the ideas and information connected to yourselves? What new ideas did you get that extendedor pushed your thinking in new directions?
What is still challengingfor you? What questions, puzzles or wonderings do you now have?
Have groups share their thoughts in writing first. Then hold a plenary discussion. Keep a visible record of students’ ideas. I hope you find this proposal worth experimenting with.