This fall we have been offering a number of “Back to School” resources and activities for educators to increase engagement, build a classroom community, and explore experiential approaches to delivering academic content. Our author Leslie Rapparlie has been offering some great activities and resources for writing teachers on her blog.
Here are two of our favorites:
Working on Revision: New Song/Old Song
To any fellow teachers out there who might be working with students on some kind of revision to a paper or response, I am here to share an idea with you. I learned this from a colleague of mine but I think it’s great, and also experiential! Just before I sent my students off to do a revision of a recent paper, I played a version of a song for them. I happened to play Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” mainly because I have two versions of that song (you can do with any songs that you have two versions of–and I did not play video, just the music). Before I began playing the song, I told them to take note of what they heard. I mentioned that while everyone in the class might have differing music vocabulary, we all notice something and can make a list of whatever it was that they noticed while the song played. I played a minute and a half of the song.
After that, I transitioned to Pentatonix’s version of “Love Lockdown” and asked the students to do the same thing. I just called it a “second song,” they did not know ahead of time it would be a different version–a revision–of the first song. I played the same length of the second song. At the end, I asked them… to read more click here.
Teaching Students to Value Reading and Writing:
If you are looking for an activity to teach students how to value reading and writing or to help them understand that they already know how to analyze texts because they analyze things thousands of times every day without thinking about, flip to “Lesson 7: Using Observation to Make Reading and Writing More Accessible” in Writing and Experiential Education (Rapparlie 65).
In brief, the activity asks the students to go for a walk and observe things around them using their senses. They record these senses (without any comment, just noting what they hear, see, feel, taste, smell) and then return to class and talk about how that helped them understand how a place was used or how that helped them make assumptions about certain people. Then, I ask them to make connections between that and the reading and writing process.
I just completed this activity with a few sections of my introductory writing class and, after completion, they reflected on the activity with responses… to read more click here.
Check out Leslie’s Book for more great lesson ideas: Writing and Experiential Education: Practical Activities and Lesson Plans to Enrich Learning.