Monday, June 30, 2008

Modeling Writing and old Keyboards

When you are modeling writing on the whiteboard, have some old keyboards available for children to use. So when you are talking about using capital letters or full stops in writing you can at the same time say
  • How do we make a full stop on the keyboard?
  • What finger do we use?
  • How do we make a capital letter?
Use that teachable moment to incorporate some keyboarding skills! Don't assume that all children know how to do it!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ideas for drafting writing

Here are some ideas for drafting writing that have worked well in classrooms

Mindmap ideas for writing, use coloured felt tips, glue into writing book.
WordProcessor (Word, Pages, Appleworks)

•Set the page line spacing to 2.5
•Children type for a given amount of time, (15 – 30 minutes)
•If they haven’t finished in that time then they carry on with pen and paper
•They proofread and edit their work with a pen, publishing does not have to be completed on the computer

Using Graphic Organisers
•A group of 2-4 children can work on one computer drafting

•They print it out when finished

•They write their own individual stories using their drafts in their writing books using their graphic organiser draft
•You could have blank printouts for children to write in and then glued into books and then the story is rewritten using the graphic organiser as a framework for the writing

Here are some other ways that you might like to try that teachers have found successful

•If you have a PDA they have WordProcessing software on them, perfect for the intrapersonal (self smart) student, who likes to work alone. Use the infrared or Bluetooth to send to a computer
•Old blackboards , take a photograph, print out and stick in writing book
•On an OHP , students can write with coloured OHP pens and stick in writing book
••On a whiteboard (photos can be taken as evidence of writing)
•Magnetic Board , take photos

Use a Drafting task board to manage the drafting choices.
This example on the right shows the different drafting choices and the names of the students

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Going to the Computer Lab

A lot of time can be wasted going to the computer lab, and this is very valuable time as there isn't much of it allocated to you. Here are some tips to make it a worthwhile experience.

  1. before you leave your classroom ensure that children know the rules and the things they have to do when they get to the lab. i.e. turn computers on, log on, open up server (if work needs to be saved there) open a Word or Pages document start practising touch typing their name (address, town etc). Younger ones can open KidPix and type the alphabet (doing all these things will not give children time to interfere with each other or 'ride the chairs', also keeps the noise down to a minimum)
  2. when you are teaching something new, make sure all eyes are on you and bodies are pointed your way, hands off the keyboard
  3. always repeat the task at least twice
  4. if some children are having the same difficulties, bring them up to your laptop and datashow and show them all over again
  5. have at least 3 monitors that can help with problems
  6. use that teachable moment with the more capable children and teach them something more advanced as you see they are coping with the original task
  7. make the tasks meaningful and authentic
  8. when finishing in the lab, make sure that all children know the procedures of how to shut down programmes correctly, and log out

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kidspiration and Fairytales

One of my school's main topics at the moment is Fairytales and the focus is Narrative writing. Combine Kidspiration, graphics from Microsoft Clipart gallery and children's writing and you have an activity that children enjoy doing and a wonderful assessment tool for the teacher.

Insert some graphics onto a Kidspiration page (or Inspiration). Save the page as a template

Go to Teacher - Enable Teacher Menu, select Teacher - Save with Activity Wizard. Click Next 5 times. Select where you would like to save it

Children open the template, move the graphics around to form the sequence of the story and type in the story. When the story is finished click on the Writing button, click on the Publish button. You may be asked if you want to open it in Word or Appleworks, choose the application you want to use.

The diagram will transfer to this application and students can now edit their text.

Teachers can use this as an assessment tools as they can see what the student's original thoughts were in the diagram and how they

edited and reworked the text to create their narrative below the diagram.

Juniors, teaching and learning with Data projectors

Phillipa uses the data projector frequently in her teaching of junior children. They have been looking at fairytales and Phillipa has been using Word, autoshapes and the projector to create class mindmaps on what fairytales children could identify.

In other sessions she looked at different fairytales and developed a storyweb around individual fairytales.

From this children have used Kidspiration and graphics to make a pictorial representation of their fairytales. Note in the example below one glass slipper at the castle.