I’m still playing around with maps at the moment, and am enjoying seeing how my learners are getting into this way of organising their thoughts. For this writing project, we once again started with a whole group collaboration. After reading the story of Hansel and Gretel, I saw a perfect opportunity to use the map in a different way.
We started with a collaboration to create the path through the forest.
This was followed by a bit of role play (got to get the drama in there!), and I had 4 learners to play the dad and step-mum, Hansel and Gretel, and walk the journey into the forest. I gave the learner being Hansel some unifix cubes to act as the pebbles/breadcrumbs as they walked, and then we also had someone as the bird to swoop down and gobble them up. In hindsight, I think using small puppets would have worked better in this respect and I could have got more dialogue out, helping the learners to develop empathy with the characters.
I then posed them a question – what if Hansel and Gretel had chosen a different path? What would they find? I gave them all another piece of paper from the same roll and they all drew the different “paths” through the forest.
There were some amazing ideas – spooky trees, hidden beaches, Rapunzel’s tower, to name a few! I gave them post-it notes so they could record any important facts about their location and think about describing words they could use when writing.
Once the paths were finished, we did a gallery walk to see the ideas of others, and they were given a choice. Did they want to write about their own path…or would they rather use a path created by someone else? After using my own example for us to create a group model, learners eagerly went away to finish the story.
I love the way every story was different, even if the “path” chosen was the same. I can really see them developing their skills as writers, using more descriptive language. We have also introduced editing (we talk about ‘polishing’ our work), and you can see some of the alterations made on their writing. Sparking this writing passion in them will give them the motivation and a real investment in wanting to develop as writers.