Our students have been learning about Livability and Internal Migration within Australia. We had spoken about and explored the different types of living environments within Australia, namely remote, rural, and urban environments.
The students were given a picture each that we found on the internet of paintings of these different living environments. We created a ‘proforma’ for them to work on so the learning task could be completed in silence and independently to start with.
We mixed together two different Visible Thinking Routines within the ‘Artful Thinking’ sub-genre – Looking 10 x 2, and see think wonder. There was a small element of the explanation game as well in there when we asked the students to explain why they thought certain things in the think part of the see-think-wonder.
The individual nature of the task worked well, as the students were able to focus and think in peace without verbal distractions. I was interested to see what they thought to start with, not just what they could mash together in disjointed conversation. Perhaps steering the students away from just commenting on the artistic qualities of the painting and who painted it to focus more on the concepts arising from the actual landscape and living environment was most challenging. Surprisingly enough, the students were really engaged in this task and some even commented on how much they enjoyed it (and how much their brain hurt afterwards!) In the future we think we would possibly give some question starts to help with the students’ wonder part to guide them in the right direction.
To extend further on this task, we have also asked students to create wordles (word clouds) on www.wordle.com or www.tagxedo.com from the listed words they came up with. This was a nice way to present the key words associated with their landscape picture. There could be many more extensions that could emanate from this task, including creating their own landscapes, further inquiry into some of their wonder questions, and one of my favourites which the students at the moment are completing, asking them ‘Would you rather live in a remote, rural, or urban environment? Why?’