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Let students know that they
are entering the "exploration" step of the thematic cycle. It
is time to find out what it is that they already know or believe about
the theme being discussed, and what information the people in their lives
can supply them about the theme. From there they identify what it is that
they want to know.
Exploration Activity #1:
Brainstorming is an activity
that facilitates the development of new ideas, in connection to known
concepts. It is used successfully in many situations to stimulate creativity
and to solve problems. It requires fast and random associations.
- Students are given an open-ended
question to answer and are told to think of all of the answers that
they can. All ideas are accepted, none are put down or judged.
- Students individually call
out answers, no one interrupts
- Someone records the answers.
Exploration Activity #2:
Mindmapping is a
way to find out the wide range of components of a problem or situation.
It is similar to brainstorming in that the student is thinking of all
of the significant information/major concepts s/he can in relationto a
topic. After generating the first set of ideas students ask themselves,
"What does this idea make me think of? What do I know about this
idea?" They then generate a second set of ideas. They can repeat
the questions as often as they wish making their mindmap more defined
- Students have chosen a
- Hand out a mindmap you
have generated that is in relation to the theme.
- Explain the mindmap to
student and write down on the board the two key questions:
"What does this remind me of?" "What do I know about
- Students alone or in pairs
create a mindmap for themselves.
- Upon completion, students
can do a number of things:
- Students combine their
mindmap with a partner and they together create a new, larger mindmap.
- Students write a paragraph
summarizing what they know about the theme being studied and what they
want to know.
- All mindmaps are displayed
on the board and students looking at all of them assess what aspects
of the theme seems to be the most interesting to the group.
Exploration Activity #3: Freewrite
Students are given a question
(or other prompt) and write as much as they can about it for a given amount
of time. They don't need to be concerned with spelling, grammar or punctuation.
The point of a freewrite is to express ideas.
- The students or teacher
create a question which is geared toward finding out what the students
know about the theme. For example, "How do most people get a job?"
- Students as a whole group
can brainstorm words that come to their mind when they think of the
question(s). The instructor writes them on the board.
- Students are given at least
10 minutes to write down their ideas.
- Students can read their
writing out loud.
Exploration Activity #4:
Clustering is a nonlinear
visual depiction of the creative process. It is a means of discovering
ideas a and associations around a central theme.
- Explain to students that
they already have inside of themselves a lot of ideas concerning the
theme being explored.
- Individually or in groups
of 2-6 students write down all of the ideas they can think of that relate
to the theme (use a small strip of paper for each idea)
- Have students bring together
(cluster) the ideas that relate to one another (papers can be
taped to wall in a way that shows relationships)
- Students agree on titles
for the clusters and discuss those clusters
- Students summarize all
of the ideas and knowledge that the class already has in regards to
- After figuring out what
they already know about the theme, students are ready to develop questions
regarding what more they want to know about the theme.
Exploration Activity #5:
Students brainstorm the things
that they want to know about their theme. Write the guidelines for brainstorming
on the board. Ask a student to lead the activity.
- Think about the theme.
- Write down all of the questions
that the class has about the theme.
- Accept all of the questions.
There are no "dumb" questions.
Exploration Activity #6:
- Students brainstorm what
they want to know about the theme. The instructor writes down what the
- Students choose 2-4 of
the questions about the theme.
- Students write those questions
on a 3"x5" card.
- Students all share the
questions they chose. The instructor combines all of the questions,
and writes them on a piece of butcher paper to be displayed on the wall
of the classroom.
- This serves to remind the
students of the questions that the whole class has about the theme.
- Students squash the card
and put it in their pocket..(to carry with them until the questions
- Students are told that
every time they touch the card they will be reminded of the questions
they have about the theme.
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