Designing a(nother) Worksheet – Art Postcards
So today I started messing about with designing another worksheet – this time using a set of images (art postcards) as the ‘text’. This is based on a lesson I’ve done a few times before, but it’s always been fairly improvised. The process of creating the worksheet has felt like it’s focused the lesson a little more, and it really struck me how intertwined the materials and the plan can be – to the extent that if need be we can pick up a book and walk into a cover class at a minutes notice (which, incidentally, is precisely what happened on my first ever day in the classroom, and I have to say, there’s a lot to be said for diving in at the deep end).
Here’s the worksheet – the first two pages are a collection of the images I use in the lesson, basically for the reader’s benefit, because rather than a handout, I like to use actual postcards which learners can then pick up, move around, categorise, etc. The artist is referenced on the back of each card.
In terms of actual content (as opposed to design/layout), the really new bit here is the Paul Klee sentences. It was in putting together the grammar reference page that it struck me how disjointed it was – which interestingly it hasn’t felt in the classroom when it’s been more improvisational. So I felt a segue was necessary between discussions about the paintings and the grammar reference. I don’t think it’s quite right yet though.
The grammar reference page took awhile, and I kept thinking how much quicker it would’ve been to do by hand, but I appreciate that it looks more professional this way. When I’ve done this lesson before, I’ve elicited the grammar stuff to the whiteboard. It seems more fluid and involving of the learners that way, so the worksheet feels like it might somehow constrain that part if I were to follow it to the letter. Which I won’t. The worksheet provides a take-away reference for learners, but it’s vital to remember that a good lesson is largely about what we do with the materials.
So… a little evaluation…
I’m using Ian McGrath’s summary of Alan Maley’s taxonomy of procedures for use with raw texts. Given that the text is an image, it’ll be interesting to see what my reflection using this typology reveals… so here goes!
Yes: brainstorming, arrows to match grammar components, and writing (although that’ll be done on a separate piece of paper.
Yes: choosing three favourite postcards
3. Media transfer
Oh my, yes. Image to story.
Grammar includes matching, the ‘text’ not so much.
5. Selection / ranking
Yes – categorising postcards into groups and selecting three for the basis of a story.
6. Comparison / contrast
Yes, absolutely – lead in discussions, and more
No, unless you count identifying the pictures in stage 9.
10. Creating text
No, but in the past I’ve extended in this way with learners identifying forms and patterns in each others’ texts. Something I didn’t feel would quite work on a worksheet.
12. Project work
Hmmm, kinda but not really.
It’s really interesting to observe how a lesson that’s previously been so organic can start to feel restricted by a worksheet. Is that because of the instructions? I don’t ordinarily include instructions on my worksheets, why am I doing it here? Maybe because I want the worksheet to speak for itself – but that’s for teachers, not learners. So who am I creating for? I’m reiterating what I said above, but vital to remember that throwing parts away is as important as bringing stuff in. It’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger.