Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview


Ideas For Preparing Students for Participation
in a Mind Works Learning Circle


Ask students to collect examples of literary magazines. They may want to check other schools, and organizations or look for magazines that carry students writing. Encourage students to collect magazines or school publications that carry stories written by a member of their family, a sibling, a parent or a cousin. The Internet is also a source for Literary collections.

Then, look over the collected work and talk about your own publication. What topics or forms of writing do students find most interesting? Are there similar responses or do students vary in what they find most enjoyable to read? Making a list of favorite topics or issue may help for later project planning.


From Reading to Writing

Choose a book that describes feelings or emotions of people who lived in a specific location at a certain time in the past. It might be Ann Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, or Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Ask your students to think about what is expressed in these books. Each of them paints a vivid image of people who were in some way trapped by their historical and cultural circumstances. In Mind Works, students will be encouraged to reflect on who they are and how they are different from people in other places. Students might want to reflect on how their unique location in time and space affects their lives.


Field Trip Idea

What places are there in your community that evoke strong emotional responses from students and residents? Perhaps there is a monument to a historical event that shaped the development of the people in your region. Or maybe there is a lake, ocean, mountain or desert that is a nature treasure of your community. Often students do not understand their own "riches" as they take their surroundings for granted. Take your students to such a place and discuss the sights, sounds and experiences. Explain to students that many of the students that will be communicating with will have never seen this ocean, desert, corn field or battlefield. What could they write that would capture the essence of this special place for those who may never see, hear or experience it.

Classroom Guest

Find an author who writes stories or other forms of expressive writing for a hobby or for a living. Invite this person to come and talk with your students. Encourage your students to ask the author how she or he finds and develops ideas. People often write about things that are very personal because it is easier to describe one's own feelings than to imagine the feelings of others. Does this person keep a journal? The more discussion students have before the guest arrives, the better prepared they will be to ask the type of questions that will be most useful.

Take Some Notes

Now is a great time to take a short break and write down some of your own ideas for how you will introduce this project to your students.

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Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel