This week’s lesson post will be a little different. Rather than simply posting a lesson plan, I’m going to give you the outline to one and you can use the concept in as structured or as loose a way that works for your classroom.
After all, we’re embracing the idea of creativity, this week.
This lesson is based on an activity that Pamela Paulson had us do at a recent arts integration conference, and I think it would work so well in any classroom.
As talked about earlier, researchers have discovered the enteric nervous system, which allows us to blend our mind, body and spirit into a single memory imprinted within our body and brain. So, that is the essence of what we will be trying with this lesson. Use it for writing, language arts, as a way for ELL learners to extend their learning, or as a way to deepen meaning in social studies. Really, you can adjust this in a multitude of ways. Have fun!
The Scent of Making Sense Lesson
Have your students close their eyes and think about a particular smell. Have each one write it down. Then have them write one brief sentence about what that smell reminds them of (a moment, a person, etc)
Then, have your students write “I remember…” on their pages and finish the sentence with something they remember about that moment/person/place.
Repeat this again. “I remember….” and have them extend it a little further.
Repeat it one more time. “I remember….” and have them extend it even further.
Then, have the students write “But that is not the story because…..” and finish the sentence however they choose.
Your students now have a poem that they can go back and edit with more description or make more concise. Here’s an example of what I came up with:
I remember walking the parking lot in the heat of July at the college after working the summer camps and the hang of the scent in the air.
I remember the sound of my flip-flops as they stuck to the pavement and carrying a freshly made cold cut sub from Hoagie Haven in my sweaty palm.
I remember walking through the dorms and down the steps to the basement practice rooms to lay on the cold floor to cool off.
But that is not the story because it was all with a friend that was once so close, yet it has now been 10 years since I have seen her.
This is a great starting point for a lesson to provide deeper thinking on a topic, or as a way to assess prior knowledge. It’s also a great hook for students because it immediately provides a sensory connection to the class topic – you’re creating another memory imprint. You could also use this as an avenue for students to judge their own preconceived notions on a topic. A TON of possibilities with this! Let me know how you use it in your classroom and any discussion it may prompt!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.