Archive for January, 2010

More about Letters

January 22, 2010

Letters have been completed, signed, sealed and about to be posted! We have also created a secure area for Darius Knight to sign in and see the class’ page about him on the school’s Fronter MLE (Managed Learning Environment)….(what do I call this as it seems quite a mouthful at the moment!!!)

We did this because in the email Darius had originally sent me,  he had said that it might take a few weeks for him to respond as he might be competing in Table Tennis tournaments outside the UK.

The children discussed whether we should just attach the letters to an email but they came to the decision that it would be ‘Way cool to get a bunch of letters telling someone that we thought they were famous!’

By sending Darius both he will have a link to ALL their online work about him which he can see anywhere as well as getting physical copies of their letters.

Off now to post the letters and send an email to him with the instructions of how to sign in. ;o)

Letter Writing

January 20, 2010

Today we looked at letter writing and discussed some of the different reasons people write letters and the types of letters they write. There was some discussion about whether people would in fact write letters rather than send an email, which is a valid point. After accepting the fact that in fact people DO write letters at times we began to look at different types.

We looked at Informal Letters, Business Letters, Letters of Complaint and other Persuasive Letters. We talked about the language used in each type as well as looking at their layouts.

After looking at each of the types, the class decided that the letters they wanted to write to Darius Knight would be a persuasive letter because everyone wanted to persuade Darius to come for a visit, if he could.

I was very impressed with their first drafts and the focus that they had throughout the session. They were ALL happy to either read these first drafts out to the rest of the class themselves or else have me read them aloud. For anyone who has worked with children with poor esteem you will understand what a big thing this is!

To take advantage of the roll they were on we decided to carry on our writing into the second lesson and after making some quick edits and reminders of punctuation (again!) the children started to type up their work.

What quickly became evident was that they all were making further edits to their work as they went along. They were adding and adapting things that others in the class had put in their letters.

Whilst they wrote I had various videos playing on the IWB of interviews with Darius and clips from tournaments. The children started adding little bits from these, as well, into their writing. Some even enquired in their letters about the way he held his racket/bat.

They all thought very carefully about their word choices and what they might say to persuade Darius to maybe come for a visit and if that wasn’t possible then to have him send them his autograph.

I’m pretty sure that it is because Darius is a person that the children can relate to and the fact that they now know quite a lot about him that they are focussed and motivated to write. They can see a purpose to what they are doing.

Using 2Create a Superstory

January 19, 2010

At BETT 2010 I was lucky enough to have been able to take away an approval copy of 2Create a Superstory from 2Simple.

As with all their other software, it is very intuative and EXTREMELY simple to use. The layout is similar in all their software which allows children to quickly be able to work with it with very little instructions.

My class felt extremely special as not only were they the first to use the programme but they were also allowed to use my personal laptop as it is the only one with the software loaded.
(It’s amazing how long one can hold one’s breathe!)

We were all very impressed with how quickly their work went from a ‘normal’ Word doc. to being ‘published’ in an online book.

I really think this will be a real motivation to their writing and anything that encourages reluctant writers sounds great to me. I also love the ease in embedding it into Fronter/MLE pages. Now to convince the powers that be.

Note Taking and Biography Writing

January 18, 2010

Last week we used this TimesOnline article as our class text and to learn more about Darius Knight. We began by reading it as a whole class and highlighting new vocabulary. We then decided which bits were the most important and these notes were collected on the IWB in bullet points.

Darius’ early life touched a chord with many of them and a very interesting conversation about home lives ensued. It is during these unplanned moments that some of the most important conversations and incidental learning can take place.

The children used these notes to plan, edit and redraft their biographies of Darius Knight.  Their motivation to write was a pleasure to see.

The plan was to publish their work today but the children had other ideas……

To be continued…….

Snow Interrupted Play

January 13, 2010

Over the past two weeks snow has caused school to either close early or be closed completely which has slowed down our Wii project.

We did manage to have a couple of Literacy lessons during the second week of term and during one of these I asked each of the children, one by one, what they thought of when I said Non-Fiction. I wanted to use this as a pre-assessment of the topic.

For many EBD children there are gaps in their learning and this was no exception. They all had a vague idea about things related to non-fiction texts and writing but on the whole they are quite insecure in their knowledge. Out of the eight boys only one had a good working knowledge of these text types.

I have made a Wordle of their responces, which I will not share with them until the end of the unit when they will be asked the same question again and the Wordles will be compared.

The Wii arrives

January 7, 2010

On the 1st day back in 2010 our class set up the Wii to the IWB with great excitement and anticipation. Setting up the console caused some small problems but a knight in shining armour came to our rescue and fixed it (thanks Chris).

Later in the afternoon we each created our individual mii characters. We also used an online avatar maker to make ones we could print off to be annotate and use in a future lesson.

During Literacy we watched the Wii Sports Resort Table Tennis advert starring Darius Knight and began to learn who Darius Knight is and why he was chosen to advertise the game.

I think Darius will be a FABULOUS role model for my kids and will hopefully inspire them to set goals and help them understand how to work towards them.

Wii Table Tennis

January 3, 2010

On Tuesday I will be starting a project with my class of year 5/6 EBD boys using the game Wii Sports Resort www.wiisportsresort.com

The borough is running a ‘Wii-lympics’ and each participating school will be putting forward a team of which there will be a Trainer, a Physio, a PR Manager, a Dietician and an Athlete. The teams will research and produce media presentations that are specific to each role with the winning teams competing in the Wii-lympics finals in July 2010. I am waiting to hear more about the exact specifics of the project.

I then started thinking that this could be expanded and used as my Literacy unit for this half term as a means of revising non-fiction reading and writing for example recounts, reports, instructions, explanations, persuasion and discussion.

This will be the first time that I have ever used a games console as a teaching tool and I hope that it motivates and encourages my class to want to write. Everything is going to be based around the game Table Tennis and they will be learning to play real Table tennis as well as on the Wii.

I now just hope that the Wii that was ordered at the end of last term has arrived. ;o)


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