Week 1 Term 2 2009


I have paired each student up with a ‘literacy buddy’. Throughout the term and throughout this project these students will work together giving feedback and support to each other during the literacy cycle.

Monday
Using the school's pod of 8 cameras the students worked with their buddy to record their weekend news using the visual planner.

This proved interesting in a number of ways
- the students loved recording each other and were totally engaged in the task at hand
- the students ability to record each other varied considerably

From a teacher’s perspective, having the students recounts recorded allowed me a chance to reflect on the student’s ability to construct a recount in a way a busy classroom doesn’t always enable you to do. From these short video clips it was apparent that most of the students list events and very few of them add the description to their oral text, which reflects in their written text. If I can get them to reflect on their oral text and develop their understanding of adding descriptions to these I am sure the quality of their written work will improve. These initial recounts will be good to reflect on at the end of the term.
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Tuesday
Today as a class we viewed the video clips from yesterday and reflected on what we had captured. Reflecting on our efforts we looked at those students who had added descriptions to their oral presentations and how interesting these were to listen to. We also discussed how holding the planner close to your face meant we couldn’t hear what was being said and how focusing on our buddy’s face meant their wasn’t the distractions of people moving within the classroom while videoing.

For those who had experienced difficulty videoing we decided to use the cameras during reading time so they could practice using the video function on the camera while their buddy read a book of their choice.

As the students went off to write continuing the text they started yesterday – I wondered how many of them would add descriptions to their written work – it was pleasing to see the number of them that did.
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Wednesday
The notion of a literacy buddy is taking off – the students look forward to opportunities to work together. Being a clear, crisp morning we headed outside with our literacy buddy and a camera to take photos of the autumn trees in our school grounds.

These images will be used tomorrow to motivate the students and again when we publish the poems we write. As we took photos I talked to the students about how they might describe the things they saw and heard.

At reading time the students worked with their literacy buddy to read the published copy of their personal recount written on Monday and Tuesday.

Using wordle we explored words that sprang to mind when we thought about literacy and working with a literacy buddy.
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Thursday
The students thoroughly enjoyed viewing some of their photos of the autumn walk and as we shared vocabulary related to it their ideas came thick and fast.

Unfortunately when they went off to construct their oral text – it all fell apart. Even though we had written cinquains before and the students had visuals to help them it came ever so apparent that the structure of a cinquain was not part of their knowledge base so constructing a cinquain orally became too difficult. In the end I had everyone on the mat and talked to them about how I as a teacher had made some errors in the way I had taught the days lesson, that I was learning too and that together we would work through the process in a different way. We worked through the written planning sheet together, recording our ideas. From that some of the students rehearsed their cinquain and their buddy recorded their efforts.

After that we wrote one line of the poem at a time – regrouping after each line until the poem was complete. Reflecting on this, the oral language session was valuable in highlighting the fact that the students hadn’t understood the task at all and from this I take heart – Begin able to orally construct a text is a fundamental step in understanding and learning to write a specified text. Next week I will try again using a modified oral language planner to see if that helps the construction of the text orally.


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Friday
Every week we have a session with our buddy class. I seized this opportunity to talk the students through how to make a comment on a blog. We showed our buddy class room 10 our blog and asked them what they would like to say about our last entry in term one.

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I took screen shots as we went as I will use these shots to make a support sheet for the students to have in their class and at home.
We then used wordle to explore some vocabulary that they might use when commenting on a blog. Room 10 had never used wordle before and their enthusiasm and delight in the end result were obvious for all to see.

I am pleased I captured their thinking in this way and hope that over the term as we revisit the notion of commenting on blogs that the vocabulary they use might be more specific to what they actually liked about the blog entry.

As room 10 left I put a challenge to the room 10 students to use part of their day in the coming week to comment on the blog. Next week we will look at leaving comments on each others blog again.

The middle block of the day was devoted to publishing where students read their poems to a buddy in preparation for videoing each other. I put the newly purchased school flip video on the tripod and worked with a buddy at a time as they recorded each other. I’m hoping that having devoted some time to this that they will grow in confidence and be able to video each other with increased independence. While I did this some of the class worked on the computer creating KidPix images for the recounts they wrote at the beginning of the week, others were reading to each other while others were drawing illustrations for their work.
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As the week draws to a close – I ponder and acknowledge the following
- creating an authentic audience within our school – our buddy class is a great first step.
- by showing the students how to comment on a blog, they will have the potential to support their families through the process thereby growing the audience that could/might comment on our work through our classroom blog
- making mistakes is an important part in the learning process for the young and the old!!!
- Regardless of their skill level the students have readily embraced the opportunity to use the flip video and class camera for videoing.