Go through the steps you want your pupils to go through
To help our pupils to be creative and critical, one important step is to go through the processes you want them to go through yourselves. Do you know why?
l You know what difficulties they may encounter.
l You can estimate the time needed for each task. (Of course you work much faster than they do, but at least you have a rough idea.)
l You equip yourself with examples so you are well prepared to throw some at them on the spot. (You know, to think of examples can be a very demanding task! But examples are very important elements to help your pupils understand a point and they are usually what pupils will take home and ultimately remember.)
For these reasons, you are encouraged to answer some of the questions and complete the tasks in the following section as if you were a pupil. Going through the processes, you are indeed training yourself to be more critical, creative and culturally aware. Read the suggested answers only after you have completed the tasks.
Activities that can be used in the classroom to promote critical thinking, creativity and cultural awareness
Before pupils are able to perform any creative tasks, they need to possess the necessary tools. In the case of nursery rhymes and songs, it is necessary for teachers to make sure that pupils are familiar with the nursery rhyme or song before they are requested to begin any task(s) that require(s) creativity on their part. When a pupil feels that he/she has mastered a particular nursery rhyme or song, he/she will have confidence to go beyond the text and try something new.
Many writing activities introduced in Module 2 – Learning and Teaching of Short Stories can be used with rhymes and songs with little modification. Examples of these are listed below:
- Writing captions for illustrations of the song
- Writing simple sentences to describe the main characters of the song
- Giving responses/suggestions/advice to the characters in the song
- Writing letters to the characters or composer of the song
- Writing slogans for posters relating to the song
- Composing new verses for the song
- Rewriting the rhyme/song in prose form
- Rewriting the rhyme/song with different characters, objects and/or setting
- Writing their own song
Take the famous nursery rhyme "I'm a Little Teapot" as an example. Let's see what kind of writing activities we may ask pupils to do to enhance their critical thinking and creativity.
I'm a Little Teapot
I'm a little teapot, short and stout
Here is my handle, here is my spout
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout
Just tip me over and pour me out!
Click here http://www.hendersonville-pd.org/nurseryteapot.html to listen to the nursery rhyme.
The following writing tasks can be introduced to pupils when they are already familiar with the rhyme. They can be introduced in the module "Food and Drink" in Key Stage 2.
Please try to do the tasks yourself. After answering these questions and completing these writing tasks yourselves, you should be able to know their levels of difficulty. This is very important because your knowledge will help you decide which writing tasks are suitable for your pupils.
*Equipping pupils with the skills for creative writing
a. Can you identify the words you have not learnt before in this song?
b. Can you think of 5 words that rhyme with the word "stout"?
c. Can you think of 5 words that can be used to describe the body shape of something/somebody?
d. Can you think of 5 utensils one uses on a breakfast table/dinner table?
* Writing creatively
e. Can you write a few sentences to thank the teapot for her nice work?
l Critical thinking: Deciding on what to appreciate
l Creativity: Addressing a personified subject
l Cultural awareness: Identifying the cultural and social conventions of showing appreciation
f. Can you write a request to the teapot?
l Critical thinking: Deciding on what to request
l Creativity: Addressing a personified subject
l Cultural awareness: Identifying the cultural and social conventions of making requests
g. Can you rewrite the song in a paragraph?
l Critical thinking: Identifying the linkage between ideas and showing comprehension
h. Can you draw a picture for the rhyme and write a sentence to describe your picture?
l Critical thinking: Trying to think of an appropriate caption
l Creativity: Drawing and writing the caption
l Cultural awareness: Teacher commenting on the drawing and highlighting any cultural elements
i. Can you write a song with the same melody but change the lyrics so that it describes something else, for example, a toaster, a knife, a dish, an oven or a TV set?
l Creativity: Using new vocabulary
j. Can you make a poster for your new song and write a slogan for it?
l Critical thinking: Deciding on what to promote with the poster
l Creativity: Creating the content and the slogan for the poster
a. stout, spout, handle, tip, pour
b. spout, shout, out, bout, pout
c. thin, fat, tall, skinny, slim
d. knife, fork, spoon, saucer, tray
e. "Dear teapot,
You are very useful. You boil water for us so my mom can make tea and coffee. You shout loudly to let us know that hot water is ready. You quietly sit on the table and never disturb us. Thank you for your kindness."
f. "Dear teapot,
Could you please shout a bit louder because my grandma cannot hear very well? Thank you."
g. I am a little teapot that is short and stout. You can see my handle on my right and my spout on my left. When the water is boiled, I will shout loudly. When you hear me shout, please tip me over and pour the water out.
h. Look at my beautiful handle.
i. "I'm a little TV square.
Here are my switches, here is my screen.
When I start to sing, you'll come to me,
All come around me to watch TV."
j. Come and watch!
Which of the questions of Task 3.8 can be assigned to KS1 and KS2 pupils?