Idea 153: Introducing a New Topic Activity

This was something that I saw used whilst at university, and I immediately knew I’d give it a go with my class.

I was introducing the topic of El Salvador to my Year 6 class for Geography. I started by giving them one of four photos to look at. The photo was printed in the middle of a piece of blank paper, and after having some time to look at the picture the students wrote down any words that came to them to describe the picture around the edges. It could be how they’d feel if they were there, what they thought was happening, what they would smell if they were there etc etc.

Once this was done, they shared their photo with a partner and added in any vocabulary their partner came up with in pencil.

The students then took their favourite piece of vocabulary and had to make it into one line of a poem e.g. a lonely woman works in a field.

I showed each of the four photographs on the smartboard in turn. If a student had written about that photo, then they stood up. One at a time, they read out their line of poetry and thus created a spontaneous poem about the picture. Ideally I’d have liked to record this to play back next lesson. Instead I’m going to have the pictures on the class wall and the children can come up and add their lines of poetry to it when they have chance. I’ll then type this up perhaps for a wall display outside the classroom.

Finally, the children wrote down any questions they wanted to know about the picture; I’ll refer to this in my next lesson and see if we can answer some of the questions they raised.

I found this sequence of activities took perhaps twenty minutes, and was a great hook into the new topic.

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