Thursday, 29 September 2011

Story Writing

Wow, times flies when you are online and flying through resources!  I found so many lovely story writing sites, but these two especially caught my eye.

The first one is Word Tamer - it is visually a very pleasing site with a real feeling of adventure!  You have a 'live' narrator who guides you through the process of your story.

You can choose:
  • your character's traits
  • their hair
  • their eye colour
  • their size, etc.

You are then led on to jot down information about your character:
  • where they live
  • what they like
  • what they don't like
  • who there friends are, etc.

You can choose a few words to incorporate into the story too.  I think that I will try this with my older children this term!

The other one I liked, I think may be more suited to younger children, but, having said that, I felt like writing something seeing the funny combinations that popped up!  This is from Story Starters.

  • Enter your name
  • Then pull the "SPIN" handle
  • Each section comes up with an idea
  • If you don't really like the idea, you can press the button in that section for a "Re Spin"
  • From there you select the format you want your writing to take: "Notebook, Letter, Newspaper or Postcard"
  • Begin to write
  • There is also a space for budding illustrators should they wish to add a drawing
  • Print!
So often children's stories are tied in with their favourite movie, or TV program, even their characters are, at times, a re-hash of a character that they already like.

This is why I love these ideas. I feel TV has had a negative impact on our imagination and so I like the idea of re-engaging imagination and fantasy - We will be surprised what our children come up with, I am sure!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Global Peace Movie

I recently read this post which invited Primary School learners from around the 
world to take part in a Global Peace Initiative by submitting a short movie clip on "What peace means to them".  The organisers then take all the submitted clips and blend them to create a "Peace Movie" made by children.

"What a great idea!" I thought, and promptly passed it on to our Grade 4 class  teacher who was equally as enthusiastic.  I emailed the organiser, expressing our interest - and directly began receiving updates and correspondence from them.  Today I took their photo's and helped them record their messages, the class teacher had taken the video clip, and I put the movie together with the music... and then we submitted it!

This is our first time working with other schools around the globe, and one thing I know for sure is that it will not be the last! 

Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Friday, 9 September 2011

The E-Beams are in!

Happiness for everyone!  Much enthusiasm and am loving their zeal to just dive right in.  Staff training is ongoing as required but begins in a couple of weeks time - but it didn't stop our teachers from getting started!

Learning - fun for everyone!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Todays Meet and Peer Assessment

The Grade 7's have just finished a project on "Disasters". It was a combined assignment between the myself and the Class teacher.

They had to choose 5 disasters that had occurred anywhere in the world. One of these had to be chosen to make a movie of in ICT - the movie had to be accompanied by their Oral. 

Over a period of 4 weeks they:
  • Discussed the difference between a natural and man-made disasters
  • Learnt the importance of a bibliography / crediting your source
  • Sourced and saved information and images
  • Imported images into Photo Story 3
  • Customised the motion of the images
  • Did transitions of images
  • Added their key points
  • Recorded their orals
  • Saved their projects

The final step of the Oral is for it to be viewed and assessed.  As well as the Teacher assessing them, I set up a "Todays Meet"  for the class.  They will need to make a positive observation, a constructive criticism and comment on something that they learnt from their peers oral.

* * *

Today this all happened and it was FANTASTIC!  Their orals were great but even better was their reaction to "Todays Meet"!  Needless to say, I have had to promise them that for their next ICT lesson, we can make use of it again! 

Today's Meet is really easy to use, literally takes a minute to set up and you can choose how long you would like to keep the room open for. The learners viewed each Oral, then made their comments and were able to view one another's comments in real time.

I printed out the Todays Meet transcript. It was given to their teacher and they were able to go through it and the learners could see (a) what they did well (b) what could they improve on (c) what did people learn from them.

It was a great success and the Class teacher has asked if we can incorporate this into the Curriculum for next year.  Will be fun to think of another project using this tool that they will feel enthusiastic about!
 Adding their comments
 What a great lesson that turned out to be!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tagxedo in Oral Presentations

The Grade 6's are busy doing a project on tribes of Africa.

They have been split up into groups, according to the tribe they chose, and apart from having to do the academic research of information, they will have to submit a movie clip as part of the project.

The movie clip will be done by each group. One person in the group will be the interviewer, one the videographer and two will be dressed as members of their tribe. The interviewer will have pre-prepared questions to ask the tribe about who they are, where they lived, their lifestyles and other interesting information.  The movie will then be downloaded, edited by the group and later watched by the class.

There is also an individual Oral required by the learners - for this I will be using Tagxedo to help them with their prompting rather than cue cards.

Tagxedo is such a user friendly site and a really great Word Cloud can easily be made in a lesson with options of Themes, Fonts, Colours and Shapes - it really allows for the child's creativity to be seen.

The beauty of Tagxedo as a prompt in an Oral is the feature of putting your cursor onto a specific word (Koisan, tribes, locations, etc) and it will automatically become the dominant word - acting as a heading and reminding the learner of the information to be covered.

The Word Cloud can be saved online anonymously and the URL saved to retrieve the work when desired.

I'm looking forward to watching this Project unfold! I think it's going to be good!