The Spy Museum

#sol22- Oct. 11, 2022

I love going into lessons with no preconceptions- new ideas, no idea how it will work out!

I saw the table of contents for a personal narrative writing unit that included a revision lesson about creating a museum . I did not have access to the actual book, so did not get to read how the lesson was intedned to go, but taht was enough of a spark for me.

“Writers, have you been to a museum before?”

Heads nodded.

“What kinds of things have you seen there?”




“Perfect! Writers, we are going to create mini museums today. Start by reading over your draft”

I pulled out my draft and read it over.

“Now, look around in your mind. What artifacts would be there with you in this time and place? Make a few quick sketches of 3-5 artifacts that would have been important to you at the time of this story. Your story may have taken place when you were much younger or it could be much more recent. Put yourself in that setting and try to figure out what might have been there with you or even what might have been hidden away.”

I sketched for a minute and then voiced over, “You remember my story is about a time I thought I was so slick spying on my mom until I climbed down from the tree and got part of a branch stuck in my hand. I had to go to the doctor and he had to slice into my hand with a scalpel to get the wood out of my palm. I could sketch the wood, the scalpel, or so many other things, but the important artifacts for me at that time were my spy notebook, pen, hooded sweatshirt with a pocket where I hid my spy notebook, and… oh, yeah, my secret code book.” I sketched as I spoke.

I turned my paper over to show the class. “You see, just quick sketches. Then I am going to look back into my story. These items where so important to me at the time of the story. Have I given them that importance in my story? As I say this I realize I haven’t even mentioned my secret code book! It was so important to me and I definitely was looking at it that day!”

There was a buzz in the room as I passed it on to them- time for them to make some quick sketches and invite a partner to their pop-up museum. As they explained their items they looked for places they could add any missing detail to their story.

A fun revision lesson that really worked in our grade five class this week. I have no idea if this is how the lesson was meant to go, but it worked for us!


3 thoughts on “The Spy Museum

  1. I so love this slice as I got to be in your classroom during writing workshop!! And a great lesson, too. With the lens of a museum curator, just the right objects must be in the scene to show exactly how it was. And I love how you honestly remembered and then could sketch and revise! Just what writers do! Your story now will be so much more clearer and vivid.Thanks for allowing me to learn with you during Writng Workshop. And glad you are back this week!! I missed you last week!!

  2. I love this lesson, and I love that it worked out for you so beautifully! Yes, sometimes it’s just a matter of “using the force” in our instruction just to see how things work out. It’s also proof that teaching is an ART.

    It also makes me smile because sometimes it’s those spontaneous ideas that seem to work the best. Maybe because they’re borne of our own curiosity and wonder? Maybe kids pick up on that energy? I don’t know. I *do* know that some of the lessons that have taken the most time and planning have been the BIGGEST bombs of all. So…there you go….

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