Wordless picture book number 3

When Night Didn’t Come by Poly Bernatene is a wordless picture book which offers a considerable level of challenge to read as well as being a visual feast.

The story tells of a village when the sun goes down and the panic when the moon doesn’t rise.  There are wonderful pictures of the mechanics of making the moon rise with villagers pulling up large bags of stars and throwing them into the sky.

The colours used in the pictures are rich with glowing oranges set against darker blues, greens and purples giving a slightly theatrical, if not magical feel to the story.  It is this element that reminds me of Leon and The Place Between by Grahame Baker-Smith.  In fact it would be wonderful if children could tell the story of night not coming in the style of Leon and The Place Between.  The language in that book is rich in patterning with a magical air about it.

I think this book would be most suitable for Yr4 children, particularly the imaginary worlds/fanstasy unit of literacy.  Wonderful!


15 Great Uses for Talking Tins in the Foundation Stage and KS1

talkingtinsIn preparing for a cpd session with a nursery and infant school, I recently came across the wonderful Talking Tins.  These were originally designed for those with visual impairment and are used to label tins in kitchen cupboards so that the contents can be identified.

They are basically a recording device, which children or adults can record a small amount of talk, 40 seconds in all, to be replayed whenever necessary.

In introducing these to the staff, we generated a list of ways in which they could be used with young children:

  1. for children who are reluctant to leave parents and come into school, a parent could record a message for the child which they can then keep with them and play when they need to hear their parent’s voice
  2. a range of people around school could record a short message and then the children could try and work out whose the voice might be
  3. staff and children can create a treaure hunt around the school or in the grounds as long as it doesn’t rain.   They are not waterproof
  4. pairs of tins could be used, 1 to ask a question and 1 for a response to be recorded on
  5. used with images, descriptions can be recorded
  6. a jumble of images and recorded descriptions  can  be sequenced
  7. challenges for the  sand/water tray or any area of learning can be recorded and set up near the equipment
  8. children can record songs or rhymes that they make up
  9. for those children who find it difficult to remember a sentence once they start to write can record it and play it back when necessary
  10. phonemes can be recorded and matching tasks with the letters can be created
  11. messages for a special/birthday person of the day can be recorded on the tins and given to the child to listen to
  12. children can record and explanation or reflection.  These could be displayed with the work on a notice board that parents have access to.
  13. a child can record a message for parents which can be displayed such as things we will need for our trip to the beach
  14. a child who finds it difficult to remember messages when delivering them around school can record their message and replay it when necessary before speaking to the people who need the message
  15. children can record themselves reading and listen back to reflect upon their fluency

There are of course many more uses for these tools.  Such a simple but powerful idea.  Have you used them for anything?

Using Scooby Doo to Improve Writing

For some time now we have used film to support writing.  Here we use a Scooby Doo trailer to explore how focusing on different aspects of a film changes the writing.
We always turn the sound down on this trailer and stop it before the Batman outline turns into Scooby Doo.  The children need to watch it several times just to respond to it as it is, no sound and no Scooby Doo as that completely changes the film.  We would show them it all after we have finished.
Divide the children into groups and ask each group to focus on a different aspect: camera angle and movement, light and dark and colour.  The children watch the trailer several times and m ake notes about what they see and then discuss.  Share what they see.
They then watch again but jot down words and phrases that link to their focus and the film.  The camera group often come up with things such as swooping up and over, racing along, gliding down the corridor, turning and choosing the doorway.  Here the verb choice to describe the movement and prepositions are very strong.
The light and dark group might jot down phrases such as moonlight shining on water, lit up house, shadows of trees, light entering the gloom from the moonlit windows, patterned shadows.  Here noun modifiction and expansion are strong.
These can then be crafted into sentences to describe the film clip.  Depending upon the focus for observation, the paragraphs will be very different and that can then lead into a discussion about what you as a writer want your reader to see and feel.
There is also something interesting about the fact that whatever is moving around the house is hidden from the viewer and with older children it would be worthwhile exploring how you hide something from the reader and then decide to reveal it.  The revealing in this clip leads to humour and completely changes the tone.  Different ways of revealing could be explored in writing and the impact upon the reader.
Do you have any film clips you like to use to support children in writing?

Warming up the word – part 2

Here’s a great activity for warming up the word.  Whenever you read to children get them to record phrases that stand out for them, particularly from poetry and fiction.  Record these and dipslay so that all can see.

Give children thirty seconds to choose 3 or 4 of their favourite and to put them together to create a short poem which they say out loud to the rest of the class.  The whole class identify parts that go well together because of the rhythm, the sound of the words, the images or whatever else. 

Remember – no longer than ten minutes on it altogether. 

Linked posts – Warming up the word part 1

Image by metrognome0 under the Creative Commons Licence

Digital Storytelling

For the month of January I thought I would focus in on resources that can help us develop digital storytelling in the classroom.

What is digital storytelling?  Well I think the easiest definition is story telling using tools on the computer which could consist of  sound or images or the orchestration of sound, moving and still images, voices over and text.  Digital storytelling originally started off as a way of recording ‘ordinary’ people’s life stories but in the classroom encompasses telling all sorts of stories, your own and others’.

I am going to assume that you have already mastered Powerpoint and adding sound to slides so will start with Photostory 3 as this programme takes you through step by step to create a film.

To find out how to download Photo Story 3 and to see a series of short films that show you how to use it go to http://www.deseducation.org/view_folder.asp?folderid=1821&depth=5&rootid=17&level2id=391&level1=17&level2=391&level3=1608&level4=1631&level5=1821

If you have used Photo Story in the classroom please let us know how it went and what your children produced.