Literacy in the Museum

The Museum environment is such a rich and stimulating one for encouraging discussion and debate, and it can be so much more.

In the Primary programme, we’re very aware that the primary curriculum is increasingly holistic and cross-curricular. We’ve always tried to take that view when developing our workshops, but we’re increasingly recognising how we can support teachers and children with literacy work through their Museum visit.

Working on the Arts and Humanities side of our programme, I’ve always been keen to include opportunities for speaking, listening and responding, group discussion and interaction, and drama within our workshops.

Now we’re exploring further ways to develop not only these skills, but inspiration for writing. For instance, our popular ‘Travellers and Traders‘ session around the Ancient Greek includes some persuasive writing and the TSI: Time Scene Investigation session creates some fantastic inspiration for persuasive and/or balanced argument writing, as well as non-chronological reports.

Image, jug with scene from the 'Odysseus and the Cyclops' story

Image, jug with scene from the 'Odysseus and the Cyclops' story

New additions to the family this year are our newly revamped ‘Tall Tales‘ workshop which now lasts a full day (contact our bookings adminstrator Nora to find out on which Mondays it is available) and which includes opportunities to collect ideas for creating a new myth and uses drama, discussion and elements of Talk for Writing as well as handling and close observation of artefacts.

For those who would like resources to support their own teaching of literacy within the Museum, we have just developed our ‘Myths and Monsters’ resource. This is closely tied to parts of the Primary National Framework relating to myths and legends and aims to support children to collect ideas to create a hero, decide which ancient artefact has been lost by Zeus (giving the impetus for a ‘quest’ type story) and creating a minotaur-style monster from animals in our Mammals gallery. This resource has already gone down really well with teachers who have used it. It is currently in draft form and not yet on our learning resources page, but is available either when you book a ‘Travellers and Traders’ session (as a follow-on piece of work) or by contacting Nora to arrange your own self-guided visit.

As the year continues, we are planning to provide more self-guided resources which will support cross-curricular teaching, but with a very definite literacy element. Watch this space!

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One thought on “Literacy in the Museum

  1. Pingback: Myths and Monsters… live! « The Learning Team, The Manchester Museum

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