Thinking ahead to this term, I am wondering about ways to increase the authentic use of iPads in Learning Strategies. There are some classes that I teach where I see great opportunities for this. I would like to start by trying some new things with my Year 4 Literacy group, who I see once a week. They will soon be starting Literature Circles and there is an iTunes U Course to accompany this (developed by Year 4 teachers). I am thinking about how I can use this as an impetus for responding digitally. I am thinking of the ISTE-Net Standard 1:Creativity and Innovation. I think the Literature Circles would provide good opportunities for blogging, audio presentations, annotation of reflective images, use of apps such as Puppet Pal as a means of developing weekly responses to the text 'The Garden to Empress Cassia' by Gabrielle Wang. I believe that these students will benefit from having other means of responding other than purely written.
The text contains the themes of cultural identity and also fantasy. Students may also have the option, after reading the text, to develop their own 'narrative' (not necessarily written) which addresses these themes. Whilst students will have choice, this may be where an app like Puppet Pal may be best used. Clear criteria would be developed and discussed with students prior. Instructions could be given via a page on the class Weebly, with individual responses going on student Weebly pages.
Thanks Belinda. I think your idea of exploring a range of ways for the students to respond and develop their own narratives beyond responding to written questions is an excellent approach. I guess this is where the technology can be most powerful for all students, but in particular, for students with special needs. Drop me a line if there's anything I can do to help or if you'd like to throw around some ideas.
In music, we're thinking about how to use digital technology in the lower primary years. It's a challenge, as there are limited iPads per class, and they need to be used in homerooms, not music classrooms. This activity, for Year 1 or 2, would allow girls to collaborate and communicate their thinking, as well as require them to think critically. The learning intention is for girls to practise and assess their intonation (in-tune singing) and pitch knowledge. Girls will use the app Singing Fingers to create visual pitch patterns - a kind of graphic notation - which plays back the student's own recorded sound when touched with a finger. The graphics are coloured according to the pitch recorded as the picture is created. Girls would be challenged to create pitch patterns in pairs which match their partner's pattern as closely as possible. They would need to listen to the recording, as well as look at the colours of the picture, to evaluate their own work as well as their peer's. The technology would enable them to engage in this evaluative activity and make decisions about the work, as well as produce the work itself.
Good on you for thinking about the younger students! Yes, it's a challenge and I will be interested to hear how you go – especially with using the class sets. I've no doubt you'll work your way around the challenges.
In Term 4, I am thinking about working with my Year 4 library class to develop critical thinking and collaboration skills responding to picture books. The idea would be to begin with a big question for discussion (eg why do people create books?). and then set a purpose of writing a blog review about this book to share with your peers. We might then work in small groups and use padlet to brainstorm ideas about what would be included in a good book review. What questions might you want to ask? We could then come back together to look at the questions and decide which ones we want to use. Students could then work on their individual book reviews, accessing the padlet to incorporate the good questions that they have developed together. We could use a blog page attached to the class weebly to post, share and comment on the final reviews.
Your 'big question' is terrific as it gives the girls a great deal of scope for inquiry. Of course, all this needs to be scaffolded but I'm sure you'll work your way through this. It will be great to hear what you develop as I think this approach is relevant for all JS teachers. I've emailed you some approaches to inquiry learning. I hope they are helpful, and of course I'm always happy to throw around ideas with you. Thanks for taking a risk and trying an new approach.
Students will use critical thinking skills to identify and define significant questions for investigation into author purpose, design of picture fiction books, contextual understanding and how many facets come together when creating a PF book.
They will be supported to explain their thoughts behind a particular conclusion. The basic strategy is to make thinking visible in the context of their learning.
Essential questions will be posed at the commencement of this focus. For year 5 - How do authors hook and hold their readers’ interest?.
For year 6 - How do authors use language and imagery to build excitement and create visual ‘word pictures’ for their readers?
Like Jacqueline, I think the essential questions you've developed is a great starting point. It sounds simple, but these questions are not necessarily easy to develop. I've emailed you some resources on inquiry learning. I hope you find them helpful. Drop me a line any time if you'd like someone to bounce ideas off and thanks for giving a new approach a go!
I'm still very much brainstorming and struggling a bit to incorporate the fourth standard! Here's what I have so far...
In terms of the second standard 'Communication and Collaboration', I'm thinking that in Term 4 I will ask Year 6s to create their own revision resources for different grammar points designated by myself. Students could choose their own apps or resources to create a small unit of work using Educreations, Explain Everything, Quizlet, Move and Match, iMovie, VoiceRecorder, etc. The girls could then lead a lesson and facilitate the rest of the class revisiting and engaging with each grammar point.
This task would encourage students to undertake close revision in order to situate themselves as experts, who then repackage recently learned content in interactive ways designed specifically to support their peers.
In Term 3, the Year 4s will be creating a family introduction video, teaching their family members some Japanese and starting to incorporating Japanese digital literacy skills to add hiragana text to their videos. The girls will need to be scaffolded in order to correctly use a Japanese keyboard- perhaps I can group the girls and they can create an original resource that explains the use of romaji keyboards...? I might create a video with lots of errors and get the girls to comment their corrections on eLocker or maybe Padlet their strategies for error correction. I think this still comes under the second standard though... hmm.
The Year 6s will be researching the Peace Park in Hiroshima this term, creating a resource of their choosing that presents their findings. Perhaps they could blog their research progress in their digital portfolio, including links and images as they go. Documenting their findings as they go complies with the third standard, 'Research and information fluency'.
I'm still thinking about Year 5s and still somewhat confounded by the fourth standard.
So many good ideas, Nicola! Remember, less is more and you shouldn't feel the pressure to cover everything you've listed!
The peer-to-peer learning approach you're thinking about for the Year 6s is excellent. To be honest, if you just focused on this and put your energy into developing this idea, it would hold you in good stead as it could be used for other years too.
I was also very excited to read that you are interested in using a Blog for Japanese. Getting the students to share and document their research findings in this way is a very effective idea.
Year 5 Buddy project
Work with a group to publish a short digital project to teach your Prep buddy a safe landing.
You will need to:
• Establish the best way to communicate this to the Prep buddy.
• Record and view an elite performer.
• Record and view someone in your group performing the safe landing (this will be done within one of your PE classes)
• Use a variety of digital environments and media
• Include all of the criteria.
Once this project is completed the Preps will give you feedback.
• Structured ( beginning, middle and end).
• Include annotations (written comments on both performances)
• Include a combination of voice instructions/key points/vocabulary/text points or commentary
Thanks Anne. Like I mentioned today, this is a great idea. It's good to see the way you guys are building on the work you have already done with students creating instructional videos.
I particularly like this one because the girls have an authentic audience.
Happy to help you out more if you need.