A Story Like the Wind / During Reading / /

What Shall I Take With Me?

Using ritual to deepen children’s understanding of the decisions people have to make when fleeing their homes.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series

Required reading: Pages 14-21

Text potential

  • Background knowledge: Refugee experience

Strategies used

  • Drama Strategies: Ritual
  • Discussion and Dialogue


Ritual can be used in drama to add poetic depth to a moment of emotional or narrative significance. In this lesson, children are asked to consider what they might do in a similar situation to Rami and his companions.


  • Paper, pencils and coloured pencils
  • Optional music suggestions to play while the children are drawing
    • John Williams ‘Theme’ from Schindler’s List.
    • Tchaikovsky Serenade Melancolique.
  • Whiteboard and markers for the quick challenge


Re-read page 21


  • Are you surprised that Rami chose to take a violin on the journey with him rather than sell it for food?
  • Why do you think the violin is so vital to Rami?
  • What does he mean when he says ‘It carries my soul.’?

This image from the Independent newspaper shows the entire possessions of a refugee family: mostly medicines to keep the baby in good health.

Read the first paragraph on page 22.

Rami lifts the violin to his chin and pulls out the bow from the case. ‘You see, it remembers many stories.’ He draws the bow along the strings and a deep melody fills the night. ‘It remembers the time before the war, when the morning sun rose over my father’s what fields, lifting the mist and turning them to gold. It remembers the warm nights and music played in our village after the harvest, and the smell of coffee and roasting almonds.’

Distribute paper and pencils. Tell the children that you are going to talk to them. They need just to listen and then when you stop they will draw on the paper without speaking to anyone.

You could play some violin music in the background. Suggestions:

  • John Williams ‘Theme’ from Schindler’s List.
  • Tchaikovsky Serenade Melancolique.

Prompt the children to make connections between Rami’s decision and their own lives.

Offer some prompt questions but do not discuss at this stage. It is crucial that the children’s responses are genuinely personal and not influenced by what their classmates might say.

  • If you were in a situation where you had to leave home and knew that you would not be able to return for a very long time, perhaps that you would never return, what would you choose to take with you? 
  • Would it be something that reminded you of the friends or relatives left behind? 
  • Would it be something connected with a very special event in your life? 
  • Would you take a reminder of a particular place that you liked to visit? 
  • Would you take something that was going to be useful in your new life?
  • Remember that you will be travelling and that you will have to carry your possessions.

Encourage the children to think carefully. This one thing that they take will be their only physical reminder of what and who they have left behind.

Without discussion, invite the children to draw the object that they will take with them.

They can annotate the image with a few words explaining what it means to them.

Final reflection

Form a circle. Ask the children to place their drawings in the centre of the circle. As they place the picture, they should say what they have chosen and why it is important to them.

If possible, conduct this without nominating children. Explain that they need to observe when there is space and come and place their pictures when they are ready. Without a dominant teacher voice, this elevates the ritual aspect of the session.

When all the children have placed there pictures allow a couple of minutes for them to view each other’s work. Ask if anyone would like to say anything. Follow the children’s interests. They may want to discuss, or they may prefer a more contemplative silence.

Key vocabulary



Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble
Director, Just Imagine
Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature (4th edit) (2019) and co-author of Guiding Readers (2016) which was awarded the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award 2017. Nikki is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. Nikki is Associate Consultant at the University of London, Institute of Education and Honorary Fellow at the University of Winchester

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