"What If" Journals

"What If" Journals

As I reflect on what is precious and wonderful about teaching little ones, listening to their stories and observing their imagination is high on my list of delights. At some point, children learn that it’s not okay to ask questions or be silly, trading it with what is “right” and “smart”. I abhor that notion and strive to cultivate an atmosphere of curiosity and creativity in my classroom. So, I got this idea to create a “writing” practice in the classroom that nurtures their thinking and wondering. I call it the What If Journal. Every entry begins with “What if….” and then students draw or write in response to the idea. Since we’ve lately been focusing on transportation, the questions have been…

  • What if buses had wings?
  • What if we only rode horses to school?
  • What if wheels were square?
  • What if there were no traffic lights or stop signs?
  • What if you got to design your own flying machine
  • What if trains went under water?
  • What if you had a propeller on your head?
  • What if you had no eyes? How could you know where you were going?
  • What if cars could talk?
  • What if airplanes flew backwards?

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These are some examples, but you can see how some are “serious” thinking questions, where as some are more “silly”. Naturally students begin to start asking the What If –not only for our writing prompts but I hear it in their play: “What if we used the white boards as pretend X-ray machines?”  “What if we built a bridge here so people can see the park when they are going over?”  “What if we use this to make a boat?” When it moves beyond the page, I feel proud and excited that they are eager to share their ideas. They value their imagination and that of their friends, making it a great environment for inquiry. And, of course, they look forward to the What If Journals, enthusiastic to write and share their drawings.

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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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