On the 24th of January, we celebrate the International Day of Education, acknowledging the role of education in bringing global peace. For some children, education offers a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future. This day offers the perfect opportunity to teach your students about the importance and privilege of education. Now is your chance to harness the meaning of this day with four classroom writing prompts that will let your primary students’ imagination run wild.
Writing Prompt #1: Take a trip around the globe – What is education like in other countries?
Give your class the opportunity to learn about different cultures, languages, and experiences. What education means depends also on a country’s culture and history. Did you know, for instance, that students in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan practice mindfulness exercises throughout the day, beginning with 5 minutes of silent reflection every morning? Chinese schools on the other hand lean very strongly towards the memorisation and retention of facts. Their language alone requires the memorisation of thousands of characters. Rather than simply writing about this important day, taking a trip around the globe opens this writing exercise up to new learning opportunities.
Project idea: Divide your students into groups and task each group with one country to focus on for their classbook. Share some information about the different countries’ teaching practices and ask your students to write and draw what they learned about that country.
Writing Prompt #2: 50 reasons why learning to read, write, and speak is important
The right to education is enshrined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, about 258 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to complete school. Education is a privilege that sadly not everyone enjoys. Encourage your students to come up with 50 reasons why learning to read, write and speak is important to build a more inclusive future.
Project idea: Discuss and brainstorm some reasons together in class and write them down on the board. Stretch your students’ imagination by giving them examples of different areas of life where the ability to read, write and speak is essential (politics, science, international relations). After the brainstorming, get your students to write about their 50 reasons and combine the project with drawings. Publish it as a fun, professionally bound classbook!
Writing Prompt #3: Take a history lesson and talk about the world’s most important inventions
What were the most important inventions that changed the world? Who invented the telephone, the first computer, the world wide web or the electric light bulb? Behind every invention is a person who saw a problem or an opportunity, and invented a solution. Inspire your students to learn about history’s amazing inventions.
Project idea: Ask each student to choose a specific invention and then go learn about it. For example: the year it was invented, its usefulness, and how it impacts our lives. After they finish their writing assignment, ask them to draw an illustration to accompany it and publish all inventions in chronological order in a professionally published classbook.
Writing Prompt #4: My favourite form of education is…
Do you know how your students like to learn? We all experience the world in unique ways, and with that comes variation in the ways we learn best. In order to cater to each student’s strengths and get them to truly value education, we must understand the different learning styles of your students. Encourage your students to share their own personal experiences of education. How do they prefer to learn? Is it in the form of games, creative writing activities, or by visualising information in the form of diagrams?
Project idea: Take the assignment to the next level with a classroom brainstorming session! Decide on the different forms and learning styles together and write all ideas down on the board. Afterwards, get your students to choose one or two of the ideas to write about and illustrate their favourite form of learning. Publish their drawings in one, beautiful, professionally bound classbook that celebrates the different forms of learning.
Celebrating International Day of Education through writing
Whether you take a trip around the globe, look at the world’s greatest innovations or find out about your students’ personal learning style – there are many ways to celebrate education. These four writing prompts allow your students to create something special of their own and become published authors in the process. And what’s more motivating on International Day of Education than getting your own book published?