…and whiskers on kittens…
Relax, I am not about to burst into song and I’ve never actually seen the Sound of Music. The songs have a way of creeping into consciousness though.
This post was prompted by an exchange of comments at (John)Poettraveler’s blog (see blogroll), so blame him!
One of my favourite lessons with my students involves my bag of delights, which is a bag of unusual things, unpacked for them onto an exotic pashmina and they are invited to examine them and choose one that inspires them to write. They can write anything they want to, from a description to a poem. I’ve had songs written and stories, and even a dialogue. They usually watch me unpack with some trepidation and with ever widening eyes and the words, “Mary Poppins!” are hissed under breaths. Yet another film I have never seen.
The following is a list of the items commonly or sometimes in my bag. I do vary it for an assortment of reasons; my Tribble had to be retired because I became concerned for her health….There IS such a thing as too much love!
1) two Egyptian gauze scarves, one black, one red, edged in beads, from Cairo, 2) a black velvet cat mask , 3) a duckbilled platypus finger puppet, 4) a Sol Invictus fridge magnet from Bath, 5) a carved wooden Welsh lovespoon, 6) a wooden rattle, 7) small set of panpipes, 8) lemur soft toy, 9) small rainstick, 10) two plastic water squirting goldfish, 11) a clove orange, 12) a Tibetan singing bowl and beater, 13) a gauze bag of resin incense, smelling of frankincense, fennel and lemongrass, 14) a string of agate beggars’ beads from India, 15) brass wire and bead mandala, 16) sandalwood bead necklace carved with elephants, 17) wooden bookmark with a lion on, 18) parrot soft toy from McD’s, 19) Tibetan prayer wheel, 20) clear resin contact juggling ball- this looks like a crystal ball but isn’t, 21) beaded medicine bag, with design of a leaping hare, 22) carved wooden rhino from Kenya, 23) pewter velociraptor, 24) single horn from a highland cow, 25) jingle bells Christmas decoration, 26) polished geode from mineral shop, 27) naturally occuring geode found on beach at The Witterings in Sussex (by my daughter), 28) Rowan Williams (archbish of Canterbury) figure for the Christmas tree, 29) Tibetan tingshags, 30) two sea shell fossils, found on a beach, 31) Norweigian easter egg(made of cardboard to be filled with chocs), 32) Egyptian glass perfume vial, 33) a box containing 3 scarabs, one a genuine antiquity, one a reproduction one I bought at the British museum when I was 17 for 10p and one bought last year at the same location, 34) Chinese health balls in a velvet covered box, 35) driftwood shaped like the head of a surprised emu, 36) Stiff Nick, two inch high bronze fertility god figure with errrmm…appendage, 37) Celtic knotwork brooch, obtained by playing swapsies in the ladies’ loo at IKEA Gateshead about 15 years ago, 38) Chinese holed coins on a ribbon, 39) lump of raw amber from Southwold, 40) palm stone of Mookaite, 41) rocks from Everest, 42) lump of native copper, 43) bottle of gold, 44) lump of fool’s gold, 45) reproduction Roman penanular brooch, 46) reproduction Viking cloak brooch with a two headed dragon ship design, 47) polished piece of clear quartz, 48) small pewter angel statue, 49) quartz pyramid, 50) Chinese carving of a dragon on a turtle; it’s made of a nut of sorts but don’t remember what.
I’ve yet to be disappointed in what a class as a whole produces, though a few individuals have struggled to find their imaginations. Some are still writing at lunchtime, and beg to be allowed to hand it in after lunch. That evening I have the delight of reading them all and marking them, and the next day, they get to read theirs out and I give out rewards. Everyone gets a sweet, for trying and there are a few bigger prizes for thise who truly excelled. I’d give more but it is out of my own pocket, and you have to draw a line. First prize is often a scarab, of which I have a small store of reproduction ones, but it depends on the class and on the gender of the winner. Sometimes it’s a pen or something like that, or more often than that, a chocolate bar.
Usually I save this lesson for when I know a class well enough to know they won’t abuse my collection, but it has worked well for every level and every age I teach and the opportunities for discussion and exploration are boundless.
So, that was a few of my favourite things and my favourite lesson! Did any inspire you?