Inspired by my trip to the Autism Show in Manchester on Saturday, I began today in a state of great excitement. Those of you who know me are probably thinking that actually that’s how I begin most days – and yes admittedly that’s true – but even by my standards I was excited!
You see after hearing a talk on Autism and memory, I had decided that from now on every lesson I teach needs to be not only a lesson but an experience. So I began today at 8.15 by talking to a packet of Baby Corn on my desk. My students (being my students and used to the fact that I am slightly crazy), were intrigued rather than perturbed – and I left the thought with them that all would be revealed in this afternoon’s English lesson.
Partly, I suspect, because they wanted to see what insanity was planned with the Baby Corn; at 12.45 each of them was sat at their desks looking at me eagerly. With a bit of help from my trusty colleagues the insanity began. I chatted to the Corn, then left it on the side to listen to me read Julia Donaldson’s ‘Stick Man’. A book which though very simple illustrated my point perfectly. We talked about Stick Man’s feelings and came up with appropriate things he could say when he felt cross.
Then I handed out the Baby Corn, one per student – along of course with some post-it-notes. Baby Corn then began it’s adventure, it climbed rocks, flew on an aeroplane and even flew (sorry, fell in style) across my classroom, superhero style. All the while we gave our inanimate object person-like thoughts, characteristics and feelings. My students – as always – were amazing. Each wrote fantastic sentences personifying the Baby Corn.
It was an abstract concept, it involved imagination, it involved understanding the thoughts and feelings of others. Technically, it should have been a tricky lesson, but it wasn’t. In fact I can’t wait to start on the feelings of a smelly sock tomorrow morning….