Monday, 16 May 2016

SPARK MIT PLG #2 - Part 2

Inquiry: How to use film to extend writing achievement for our Extension students?

Dorothy shared with us a handy definition of an innovation in a digital context:
"An intervention that would not have been possible prior to the move to digital learning environments”

  1. What innovations are you using to address the problem you identified?

Innovation: using online movie clips (e.g. from sites such as Youtube, The Literacy Shed) to improve writing skills. Students will write their own narratives and create movies based on their narratives. Create short movies as resources to show students how to improve their narrative writing skills.

Term 2 Goal: Combining topic based school wide theme (Art) with inquiry e.g. providing opportunities to improve writing.

Year 5 & 6 Extension:
Art theme will be based on Polynesian Warriors. The focus is on traditional/cultural tattoo designs and what they mean (Art Exhibition at end of term). Students will work on narratives about their warrior. At the moment just focussing on ideas for plot, structure of narrative, character and setting descriptions. Lots of group discussion and sharing of ideas. I have been trying to provide opportunities to develop narrative writing skills by using online resources.

Year 7 & 8 Extension:
Art theme is based on the work of author and illustrator Colin Thompson. Students will write a narrative that will inspire their artwork in the style of Colin Thompson. The focus will be on perspective and how to create the illusion of depth. At the moment we are still developing our ideas about characters and the setting.

End of last term I selected very short Youtube clips of a setting (forest and old cottage), problem (being chased by a bear), resolution/emotions (being reunited with family). We used the clips to think about what we could see, hear, feel about the clips. Lots of discussion about this. Brainstormed ideas.

Spent time collecting resources - Link

Students are expected to keep a writing log (links to their blog posts) and post regular book reviews. Reading and writing go hand in hand and reading mileage will aid writing.

  1. What is going well?
This term I have a clearer idea about what I want to achieve. I know where most of the students are at in terms of their writing. I’ve analysed their writing samples and identified individual as well as group strengths and weaknesses. I’ve collected resources and ideas that might help to motivate students to improve their writing skills.

  1. What are some of the challenges?
Managing and organising my time so that I keep up with what I want the students to learn and achieve. Lack of time is always an issue. Interruptions in the school programme mean less time with students less time working on their tasks.

I would love to focus purely on improving writing during Extension, but I also need to be mindful of school wide needs e.g. Art Exhibition at end of term. No other choice but to compromise, but the digital learning environment means that students can access resources and information anytime, anyplace and anywhere.

Next steps:
Ideas to manage inquiry:
How to have an effect (make an impact) as time is split between art and writing. Only 2 opportunities to write.
Use an MIT day to complete artwork?? Create resources?
Homework - set each week - mini writing task so when students get to class - work with scaffolding a group. Focus on aspects/elements of writing eg punctuation.


  1. Hi Sandy, I think the mini-writing tasks is a very cool thing and would love to see some samples as you progress with this. It was lovely to see you today and good luck with term two.

  2. Hi Rowena

    Thanks for your comment. Good seeing you too and good luck with your inquiry.