Last year I was lucky enough to do some work with TravelSmart, who used my picture book Ten Tiny Things as part of their TravelSmart to School program.
At the end of the year, schools who have been involved in the program send student representatives along to an awards day where everyone shares the ways in which they’ve put the TravelSmart message into practice in their school community. I was invited to attend this event and deliver a workshop for the kids which teachers and other accompanying adults could then take back into schools and adapt/extend for a larger group.
During the morning, the kids did a few preliminary activities using images from the Ten Tiny Things blog. They were asked to write a caption or a description of what they saw happening in the pictures. Check out some of the things they came up with below:
Then they were asked to make notes of the sorts of things they saw and heard and felt and even smelled on their journey to school. They jotted ideas down, like this:
Little did they know we were warming them up for the main activity, a process I’ve come to call “creative mapping”. Over a series of steps, we got students to map their trip to school on butcher paper, adding in the things that were important to them. Where conventional maps include things like churches, public toilets, and libraries, we’re not so sure those things matter to a kid on their way to school. We were more interested in things like:
* swooping magpies
* the house that always has its sprinklers on late. Naughty, but refreshing!
* the weird old tree that looks like a spooky face
* the hill that doesn’t seem steep when you’re driving but totally is
* the house where the curtains always seem to move as you go past
* the dog that sticks its nose through the fence to be patted
We also wanted students to draw in a way that represented their own individual journey. So something that stands out to you might be drawn extra large, while that boring block you just whizz past might disappear entirely. It’s your map so you can do whatever you like.
And once you get to the end of all this, your map might end up looking something like this:
… which if you ask me is just a little bit more interesting than this:
It was lots of fun to do, and the maps the kids came up were with fantastic. I’m hoping that some of the teachers do get the chance to work the extension activities into this year’s TravelSmart to School program. It’s so satisfying to me to think of my book being used for all sorts of wild and crazy things out there in the world.
Fabulous map!Especially that cubby hut and trampoline (and the arrow pointing to the frog). OK, pretty much all of it …
Love this idea to encourage two of my favourite things – books and maps!
Thanks, Bec. I'm rather gleefully fond of this, too.
And Susan – I also love maps (and books, of course!). Once I came up with the basic concept of individual map journeys, I became irrationally enthusiastic. I don't detail the extension activities here, but they take things a bit further again, bringing individual maps together in a group setting like the classroom.