The photo above is documentation of a Prep class I worked with. At the time we were inquiring into the question ‘How can we change our world with our Imagination?’. To be brief, after initial exploration, this particular group of students had chosen to explore storytelling in particular with shadow.
I just wanted to make visible the layout of the classroom. The lovely Silvia Tolisano has recently opened my eyes to other ways of documenting learning which is why I have labelled the above photograph. I recommend you do too!
The reason I want to focus on discussing the structure and set up of the space is because I often hear teachers say – ‘but how do you do it with a whole class?’ or ‘it’s just too hard with a whole group’. I’m not saying this is the way to do it because I am still learning and exploring myself, however I believe children should be given the chance to experience working collaboratively and creatively for real purpose.
To break it down…
Each area in the space had been explored and modelled before setting up the space. The children knew the purpose of each space, what they were expected to do and that they would be accountable when we reflected and shared as a group later.
You will see in the photo there are several places for quality literature. The children had previously researched and chose books that would inspire and help them understand how shadows are used in storytelling.
Documentation and Discussion
It was vital to photograph what the students made, how they explored and display this on the walls. They were aware of the display and would be able to see and compare what other students were doing and how they could use each other’s ideas.
Having materials they need ready and accessible was essential. I am also a strong believer in ‘less is more’. Selecting materials that can be used flexibly often force people to make creative decisions and problem solve.
Value sharing. We shared between ourselves during the inquiry, we shared the final product with the entire school and now I am sharing with you. The children feel proud when they share, everyone learns from each other and it can open up opportunities you can’t imagine.