Big Ideas

  1. Write each of the following words on 8 ½ by 11 sheets paper and place them on the floor around the room. Or, you may choose to print the Big Ideas Handout Pages document.
    a. Work b. Leisure c. Need d. Want
    e. Pleasure f. Fun g. Joy h. Labor
    i. Culture j. Play k. Living l. Wages
    m. Money n. Sustenance o. Choice p. Education
    q. Fresh air r. Drudgery s. Beauty t. Oppression
    u. Rights v. Respect w. Dignity x. Free time
    y. Strike z. Labor union
  2. Give each student a marker. Direct students to walk around the room and write whatever word comes to mind as they arrive at each new word. They can also make a quick drawing, if pictures are easier than words. Be sure that everyone writes something on every word.
  3. When the students have written something on each sheet, invite them to pick up whatever word is particularly calling them at that moment, for whatever reason, and to bring it back to their desk. Direct students to turn the papers over and to write about whatever comes to mind about the idea behind the word they chose. Tell them that they will read their responses aloud in the whole group.
  4. Have students share their responses. You may choose to create a found poem (a poem created from components of something written elsewhere) by writing words that stand out for you as you listen to each student, writing those words on a sheet in whatever way makes sense to you in the moment, and then reading the poem after each student has shared their writing. (You can find detailed instructions for creating a found poem from the National Council of Teachers of English here.) Alternatively, you may choose to write on the board whatever themes seem to be emerging from their responses. Some themes may be: the value of humanity; the reasons we work; what we expect from work, treatment on the job; leisure time versus work, etc.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Big Ideas." (Viewed on June 4, 2023) <>.


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