CITAL- Apple Planning

A teaching meditation on an apple.

citallogo The CITAL group practised creative planning in this half term’s session, the idea was to bring together a range of subject specialists and encourage them to develop teaching ideas based around a specific object.

I’m aware that I have become increasingly reliant on the use of ICT, and some previous CITAL sessions have reflected this, so I was interested in using our imaginations to find extraordinary uses for a mundane everyday object. ICT can make our teaching more effective, but we must also continue to develop and maintain our ability to teach with an engaging narrative.

Thank you to Mandy who set the tone for our planning session, illustrating the technique that she uses to set the expectations for her dance lessons, thereby ensuring a safe and positive learning environment. These clearly have cross-curricular appeal

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Take part.
  • Support each other.
  • Praise and encourage others.

The group was then presented with an apple and encouraged to develop as many teaching ideas as possible. The results were fascinating…

(Apologies if I’ve misrepresented any ideas here, there is some overlap.)

  1. How would you redesign the apple for the 21st century? Possible links to genetic modification.
  2. The apple as a classroom management tool, students can only speak when they hold the apple.
  3. Who are the people behind the apple? The producers. Where and how do they live? How are they different from us? What do they think about the apple?
  4. How many different varieties of Apple are there? How are they the same or different?
  5. How popular is the apple? Which country do people eat most apples?
  6. As a prize for a correct answer or a piece of work.
  7. How environmentally friendly is the apple? What is its carbon footprint?
  8. The apple as a prompt for drama, ask students to create a piece of work around the apple.
  9. Drawing the apple as it changes over time.
  10. To illustrate how an object can take different forms, a full apple, compared to a semi-eaten one.
  11. How apples are represented or used in the media, why are they iconic? Apple Records, Apple Macs.
  12. How do you drink an apple?
  13. Using our senses to explore the apple, how does it smell, feel etc?
  14. Apple ‘bobbing’. Students have to ‘bob’ for an apple; the apple is linked to a question or topic.
  15. Opposite to (12) apple hanging, apples are hung from the ceiling!
  16. Wicker apples, what customs and traditions involve apples? How is the apple symbolic?
  17. As the focus for a piece of research on apple consumption.
  18. How do you eat an apple?
  19. What makes up an apple?
  20. Organic or non-organic, which type of apple is best?
  21. For teaching metaphors, ‘rotten to the core’.
  22. Leave the apple on a bench, watch who takes or leaves it. What does this tell us about the person? A piece of creative writing could be generated.
  23. As a model to show the structure of the Earth and plate tectonics.
  24. Can we design appropriate packaging for an apple?
  25. As an analogy for essay planning or reaching certain levels within an examination question.
  26. Where do the names for apples come from? Granny Smith etc.
  27. How have apples been represented by writers and artists over time?
  28. Grow an apple inside a bottle, how did it get there?
  29. To help illustrate the theory of gravity, Isaac Newton, is this story true?
  30. Which is better the Apple or the orange?
  31. How long have people been cultivating and eating apples?
  32. How can apples be used in food production?
  33. Why is the apple used as a symbol of temptation in the Bible?
  34. A creative story about the journey of an apple.
  35. How is the apple grown? Does this process differ between apples?
  36. An investigation of into the origins of the term ‘Big Apple’, as in New York.
  37. For use as an object within a team building activity, passing the apple to each other, without the use of hands.
  38. As an analogy for managing people, handled with care the apple remains perfect, dropped, or treated badly, the apple is bruised.
  39. How the apple develops from a seed over time? This could be used as an analogy on how individuals can be nurtured.
  40. Feed the student. A competition whereby a student eats a bite of an apple each time they get an answer to a question right. Maybe a competition between groups of students.
  41. In a fruit bowl on your desk to illustrate healthy eating!
  42. As a moral dilemma. If your only possession was an apple, what would you do with it? Would you eat it or would you share it?
  43. As an analogy for the human life cycle, growth, ripening, and decay. Or as an example of Karma.
  44. Have two different types of apple, green and red, cut them in half and show that they are both the same. With reference to teaching equality.
  45. To illustrate spheres and circumference in Maths.
  46. To illustrate mass and density in Science.
  47. As an analogy for understanding personal decision making. The skin represents the individuals public face, the fresh, their true feelings or thinking, the core, the factors that have influenced this thinking.
  48. Is the proverb ‘An apple a day’ true?

What can we draw from this session?

  • We need to encourage and promote the right conditions for both adults and students to share their ideas and be creative. When we feel safe, we are more likely to take part and share our ideas. Should we take Mandy’s expectations and make them an inherent part of the College’s system of classroom management?
  • With the right conditions, collective planning is a powerful tool, how often do we sit alone and plan a resource or lesson? Should we have planning buddies? Should we be devoting more time to planning that involves the whole department or faculty? If we are time constrained, does Technology offer us the ability to collectively plan? Of course, many people may already be using these techniques.
  • The technique clearly highlighted that cross-curricular planning is achievable, given the time and the right conditions. There was much interest in developing a cross-curricular a object themed day. The Make Poverty History day was used as an example of how collective planning can result in powerful learning outcomes for our students. Is this something we should consider for next term?

Many thanks to all those that contributed.

Feel free to provide feedback.


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