A Story of Transformation

October 13, 2020
By
Sheryl Chant
&
Susan Grigson

A STORY OF TRANSFORMATION

School: North Fremantle Primary School

Year Group: 4/5

Teacher: Susan Grigson

Creative Practitioner: Sheryl Chant 

Creative Practice: Visual Artist


Funnily enough, my most successful Creative Schools session for 2020 was based on caterpillars. The transformation began with my style of presentation.

What did I do differently? I took my cue from the book, Developing Tenacity, by Lucas and Spencer, (2016). I explicitly introduced the specific Creative Habits of Learning before each stage of the session and I asked focus questions before the activities. 

The focus questions were:

Think about how this kind of thing could be really useful to you AND think about the things you care about in the world and how you’d like to make a difference.

Read/listen carefully to the type of questions being asked and identify one which seemed the most effective and tell us why you think that.

These focus questions helped to make the learning authentic, as the students saw more reasons to engage. The outdoor classroom enhanced this, along with the fast paced multimodal lesson format. 

The caterpillar lesson followed these steps:

Warm up - Pass the hula hoop game.

Activity

  1. Self-selected group work, write on large rolls of paper: What do you know about caterpillars?  What do you want to know about caterpillars?
  2. Gallery walk with focus question: Read carefully the type of questions being asked and identify one which seemed the most effective and tell us why you think that.
  3. Speed think about caterpillars: What do they: Sound like? Smell like? Feel like? Taste like? Look like?
  4. Create your own caterpillar using any of the materials provided and following these rules: The caterpillar can be no bigger than your thumb; the task must be completed in 5 minutes; no sticky tape, no glue, and no living garden materials. Materials: Red wool, string, glittery REmida materials, and mini popsticks in either natural pine colour or bright colours.
  5. Divide class into two groups, each one given a different area of the outdoor classroom to hide their caterpillar.
  6. Each group swapped areas and tried to find the hidden caterpillars.


Reflection - Display and discuss findings.

Only 4 caterpillars were found – the brightly coloured ones. This led to a discussion of adaptations, prey, predators and inquisitiveness. For me, one of the pleasures of working with my teacher was her willingness to take our sessions further, to use them to extend learning with the students beyond the 90 minute creative schools adventure.

I think this session is a story of transformation as it was so successful in engaging all of the students in learning authentically. The explicit introduction of the Creative Habits of Learning for each section and the reflective questions before the activities, helped to focus the students. The fast pace of the lesson and the multimodal structure enhanced student engagement along with trusting the students to engage in the process, allowed deep learning to occur.