Story Titles so far ...
Purple People Eater - Video ( A message in making your teaching points explicit)
Treaty Story
Senior English - Interactive Board

Purple People Eater
I found this on You Tube and I thought it was a clever message pointing out how important it is to be clear when you give instructions for your students. It has one word in it that could make it unsuitable for playing to the children but I enjoyed it.

books.gifTreaty Story

I was teaching a mixed class - ranging from young year 6's to quite mature year 8's. We were in the midst of our social studies unit study, and the students had established their own questions for an inquiry. We were trying to work out why the British really wanted a Treaty with the Maori chiefs and what the benefits might have been...( How the actions and ideas of people in the past changed the lives of others -causes & effects etc). We'd played with a class treaty and 'practiced' being different factions with different agenda's etc and the children had all been involved in their own research.

The discussion started to take off, the students had done a lot of independent research around their questions and with this background knowledge they put themselves into roles on both sides of the issue. Points were raised , discussed, challenged and justified. All great stuff. One "AHA" moment occurred when "Ben" a year eight almost yelled "I've got it. The British Resident just didn't have any power!" (Two little year 6's that hadn't contributed much to the discussion, exchanged glances and began whispering and writing furiously in their discussion notes).

Yeah, the others agreed, and went on to argue in their own way about some pretty thoughtful points ...about needing power and no one actually being in charge, the pressure from other countries, lawlessness in Kororareka, etc. . The depth of the discussion was unexpected and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself...
Wow, I thought, this is fantastic. These kids are totally engaged in their learning and just look at the understanding they're developing !There's some fairly advanced concepts here but they've got it. I am soooo good.

Ok. ... you know that "pride goeth before a fall thing.." Yeah, never assume anything. Shortly afterwards I checked up with the two year 6's that had appeared to suddenly get a very complicated point. I read their discussion summaries which showed reasonable understanding but there it was .... "The British people also wanted a treaty because the British residence had no electricity."
Eh ? They explained it carefully to me... "The British couldn't build a power station without a treaty because the Maori chiefs owned the land".

(Gulp - OK , I know. That's what the British Resident having no power meant to them. They'd looked up residence. It meant house. The house had no power. Makes sense. What's a British Resident anyway ? They had read about it but had no idea of course. Tiny teaching points for me here - student readiness & preparation,age related concepts, & don't assume the degree to which specific concepts have been grasped without probing & exploration ). Darn. Kids are so grounding.

prof.gifSenior English (Yr 11)- Interactive Board Use

I receive two frequent questions regarding Smart Board use. One is how I use it in English, and the other is how is it in fact 'interactive'? I will use for an examples a recent unit on Pirates of the Caribbean for which I developed a 26 page file. Every page has colourful pictures captured from internet sites. This highly visual aspect really helps keep students focused. I have pages where in separate boxes there are quotes, characters and events that can be moved around and matched up. Many have extension tasks hidden under movable boxes. Two pages focus on linking characters to quotes, events, techniques and ideas. They are set up in a grid, as I would on the standard whiteboard, for students to fill in spaces. Colourful thumbnails aide the visual presentation.

My answers are 'hidden' under white patches. We first discuss what they have, then rub out the patches to compare with my notes. Often in this style of task they give me things to add. I type this and their ideas are instantly and permanently on record. For a character change essay having two large clear pictures of Will Turner at start and finish gave a very visual prompt. At one stage while most were on task, two or three really stuck students came up to the board, and took turns with a stylus to make and extend their own mind map on this character. They came up with brilliant ideas which are now saved as a permanent record of their efforts.

The board is at its most interactive when there is something there to initiate discusson. I had columns with characters faces at the top and loads of 'floating' adjectives. Placing a few incorrectly to start would gain student attention and quickly initiate discussion on which words belonged where and why. In no time at all students were wanting to move words themselves, insert extra rows to show chronological change, and found they wanted to put the same words in multiple places so I let them 'clone' a word. Any activity that requres matching up ideas, ideas to techniques etc will work in the same way. Large clear fonts, bright pictures, and text in easily movable blocks are a brilliant aide to highly interactive discussions. In the end, every note myself or the students have added are there to look back at and refer to. No efforts are simply erased and forgotten. This certainly motivates them.

In text study information and pictures relating to time and place can be down loaded for display and discussion. Large pics of book or video covers can be shown and covered with annotations. For Stone Cold I logged into a web cam in Camden Market for a 'real' look at the stories setting, and again can annotate over any picture.

The Smart Board is a great visual aide for students with speeches. I invite them to use the board any way they choose. They have learnt that they can do power points, and annotate over them as they go. Some simply like it for a background taking some of the focus of them while delivering. Some use it very actively as a presentation aide.

It is great for a large bank of starter or filler activities based on word games. I also have a load of great pictures stored in there, so I pull up a picture and they have to write a story based on it, or come with five adjectives/nouns/verbs or even metaphors/similes etc for it. Possibilities are endless.

or...Start your NEW story here.