Tag Archives: Teaching reflection

Take a photo for descriptive writing starter

This lesson came about after I had seen a few posts about using pictures as writing starters. These were using online pics or doing photography lessons then some writing. I thought I had seen this lesson but couldn’t find a link for it so I went ahead and created it. I had forgotten to bring some colouring pictures that I often used as a creative writing starter. Necessity sparked some creativity.

Students were asked to go outside with 10 minutes to walk around and find something interesting to take a picture of. This picture would then be the object of their descriptive writing task. The task required them to describe the photo they had taken in a letter that a blind person, who had previously been able to see, was able to form a mental picture of the picture from the description. Link to lesson.

These are 2 pictures I took whilst outside with the class.

At first many students struggled to be able to paint a picture using words to fully describe what they could see. It took a few revisions and guided feedback to form sentences that described shapes and colours of the picture. How it was positioned, shaped or interesting observations that could be made. Some really struggled to put words into sentences, there were some words but not enough to paint the full picture.

I believe this lesson provided the students with a varied learning experience. Most seemed to enjoy the challenge of writing and using iPads to take the pictures, and in some cases to write the words also. The task was suitable for all students in this grade 4 class, everyone was able to participate, and some wrote more words than others. They enjoyed being able to start the activity outside, some really taking the challenge to take and find a few interesting and varied objects to photograph. I will use this again with other classes in upper primary schools.


Simon Youd

the #reliefteacher


Music Lesson, Grade 3-6, Relief


Picture source: http://www.educational-freeware.com/featured/free-music.jpg

I used a music lesson I had used previously at other primary schools. Modified to include more instruments and have all students participating, a fun listening activity for students. I started with asking what two things do you always do with music, regardless of singing or playing any instrument, being making the sound or listening to the sound.

Each student is given an instrument, 2 of each type, shared around in a circle. Each type is played and students listen to the type of sound it makes, describing and matching the sound to other things, e.g bells equal christmas and jingle bells. One student is blindfolded and placed in the middle, then asked to find a particular instrument by listening to all sounds and picking it out.

Last time I did this I only used a few instruments and moved them around after blindfolding the one in the middle, this worked really well. The lesson went well at times, I found that the louder instruments overtook the sound and some students wanted to play overly loud. Having all students play and swapping instruments meant that everyone was involved all the time, yet it also lead to a lot of excess noise. The last class of the day listened really well and did not play overly loud, allowing for the nuances of quieter instruments to come through and be heard. Not sure how to control the music level with keeping everyone participating, those students that are inclined to loud talkers were loud music players.

Overall the students enjoyed this activity. I will use it again although the lower amount of instruments makes it easier to control the noise level, less students are participating at each stage. Behaviour management could be enhanced through the ability to have certain students miss turns on instruments for not following directions or participating properly.

One big win I had was with a couple of Autistic students, the aides said that normally they don’t participate in music, but this lesson they did, playing throughout and having a turn with the blindfold on. They were having fun and enjoying playing each instrument. This was well done for these kids and their aides were rapt that they could fully participate in this lesson.