Ideas For Preparing Students for Participation
in a Mind Works Learning Circle
Ask students to collect examples of literary magazines.
They may want to check other schools, and organizations or look for magazines
that carry students writing. Encourage students to collect magazines or
school publications that carry stories written by a member of their family,
a sibling, a parent or a cousin. The Internet is also a source for Literary
Then, look over the collected work and talk about your own
publication. What topics or forms of writing do students find most interesting?
Are there similar responses or do students vary in what they find most
enjoyable to read? Making a list of favorite topics or issue may help
for later project planning.
From Reading to Writing
Choose a book that describes feelings or emotions of people
who lived in a specific location at a certain time in the past. It might
be Ann Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman,
or Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Ask your students to think about what
is expressed in these books. Each of them paints a vivid image of people
who were in some way trapped by their historical and cultural circumstances.
In Mind Works, students will be encouraged to reflect on who they are
and how they are different from people in other places. Students might
want to reflect on how their unique location in time and space affects
Field Trip Idea
What places are there in your community that evoke strong
emotional responses from students and residents? Perhaps there is a monument
to a historical event that shaped the development of the people in your
region. Or maybe there is a lake, ocean, mountain or desert that is a
nature treasure of your community. Often students do not understand their
own "riches" as they take their surroundings for granted. Take your students
to such a place and discuss the sights, sounds and experiences. Explain
to students that many of the students that will be communicating with
will have never seen this ocean, desert, corn field or battlefield. What
could they write that would capture the essence of this special place
for those who may never see, hear or experience it.
Find an author who writes stories or other forms of expressive
writing for a hobby or for a living. Invite this person to come and talk
with your students. Encourage your students to ask the author how she
or he finds and develops ideas. People often write about things that are
very personal because it is easier to describe one's own feelings than
to imagine the feelings of others. Does this person keep a journal? The
more discussion students have before the guest arrives, the better prepared
they will be to ask the type of questions that will be most useful.
Take Some Notes
Now is a great time to take a short break and write down some of your
own ideas for how you will introduce this project to your students.
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