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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Umbrella Metaphor in my classroom (with pictures and student work)

Whether this picture is real or not, I don't know, but it's the kind of visual I was seeking for the UMBRELLA metaphor in my classroom!

So, here's the story:

We're talking about the Golden Rule like we do every year. Some form of the Golden Rule is found in every religion. It's all good. If every one of us simply follows it and make things right when we stray from it......what beautiful learning conditions we'd have in our room.

It's missing something. Falls flat. Needs a 'story' or a metaphor or a visual.

A student saves the day by bringing up an umbrella. The rest is history. Words flying about the room as the metaphor came to life in my classes were snowstorm, hurricane, hail, and more. Learning communities building ideas and creating together.

The umbrella metaphor 'story' inspired this Conversation Calendar prompt the next day:

Imagine that a GIANT UMBRELLA is over our classroom right now. You decide what it looks like! That umbrella is the Golden Rule. If we all follow the GR and treat others the way we want to be treated, the UMBRELLA protects us and we can all learn, share, grow, laugh, explore and more. 
Draw that GIANT Golden Rule umbrella with all of us underneath it. Now draw/explain what happens TO THE UMBRELLA when one of us doesn't treat another the way he/she would want to be treated? What happens to the umbrella if the 'hurt' person responds back with kindness? With anger?
Some of my kids recorded their answers in sentences, some drew pictures with captions, and some did both. Our learning community as a class and team now has a concrete, tangible item to represent the Golden Rule. We can now say 'umbrella' and look up if a person isn't doing something helpful or kind. The larger message is there and can guide without words. #powerofmetaphors

My kids' ideas of what happened to the UMBRELLA if someone didn't follow the Golden Rule landed in 3 pools of thought. :)

1. A hole forms in the umbrella above the person not following the GR. Water or 'bad stuff' comes down through the rip in the umbrella and splashes onto anyone nearby.

2. The umbrella closes inward or shrinks letting people get all wet, sad.

3. The umbrella gets taken by the wind, letting us get wet.

Can the umbrella be fixed and returned to it's protective state over US?

Yes! Apologize and the holes will mend, umbrella will reopen, or wind will return it!

Check out My Flickr Photoset of some student responses via link or gallery below.

robotika via photopin cc

Not surprisingly, the kids are bringing in umbrellas and planning how to make a GIANT umbrella the entire team can fit under. Photo Opp. :)

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