Last week my group and I went off the beaten track and into the woods to make ourselves a journey stick. This was one of our directed tasks and can be used cross curricular to get children out of the classroom, where they then make a visual representation of the journey they have taken. I think this is a fantastic idea that could be used for a wide range of learners, bridging the gap between different ability levels. Once back in the classroom, the physical representation of the trip the class have taken will hopefully be inspiration and guidance when drawing maps, creative writing or recounting their journey.
Along the way we also took lots of photographs that would inspire work when we were back at uni. Children could use a number of different techniques to record their journey including, drawing, rubbings, video recording, audio recording, writing and photography.
We also were instructed to collect an interesting leaf that we could use to inspire our poetry. It’s interesting how little attention we pay to things like leaves. Once we were told to pick one out on our journey I spent more time then ever before inspecting the colours, patterns and texture in leaves I passed. I guess that’s why getting children out into the world is important for their learning as they can make discoveries and spend longer looking at things they may not see on a daily basis. This will help to inspire children so much more then just being told about the woodland, or shown photographs.
So, after our long walk we returned to campus with our (pretty awesome) journey stick…
We were doing this task for our English class, however there is so much potential for using this activity across a number of subjects. Here’s a few ideas our group came up with:
Pupils could collect inspiring items when studying colour and texture. Their journey stick could inspire observational painting, drawing and other mark making.
Pupils could use their journey stick to make a visual representation of a timeline, attaching items that remind them of events in a certain historical period. They could also collect items in a location to look at how that place has changed between a period in time and modern day.
A journey stick could be used to collect examples of pattern in the natural world. This might be more appropriate for younger students, but could help to give Maths more context in their lives and make it relevant to them.
If pupils were studying their local area a journey stick would be a fantastic way to look at the features of their town i.e. parks, nature reserves, shopping areas, farms. Collecting items they find will create a journey stick that becomes a visual interpretation of their area. This would be fantastic inspiration for writing a persuasive piece about why tourists should visit their town.
So what are your thoughts on journey sticks? Is this something you think you might try with your students?