Monday, May 11, 2015

Adding a Writing Component

You’ve just finished using the Animated Step-by-Step on the interactive whiteboard to pace your class through a recipe. As you plan to create a followup writing activity, every step in the process has been photographed with closeups of students performing various steps in the process.  Be sure to include every student across the continuum of pictures.  You are now able to use presentation software to create a document for a future writing project. I typically use a template created with PowerPoint, but numerous other programs would work equally well (e.g., Keynote, Smart Notebook, ActivInspire).  My template includes three lines for text and a circle in the upper right corner for a page number. When using interactive whiteboard software (Smart Notebook, ActivInspire) you have the ability to model the process of handwriting before converting that handwritten text into printed text (some might argue that this makes a more official looking final product).

Once the pictures are inserted, the writing document can be used in a variety of innovative ways.

1.     Use the file on the interactive whiteboard  to conduct a collaborative group writing activity.  The pen tools and the eraser are essential to this writing process. This format allows the teacher to model and guide the writing process.

       “We just finished page 3 and now we are moving on to page (rising intonation) ….. (writing the page number in the circle in the upper right corner)

“ What do we want to say about this picture?  Any ideas?”
(students offer suggestions … consensus is reached)

Okay … Here we go … Indira …. Indira can you spell your name for us?  

“is  … I think that word is on our world wall’

“stirring’ …. What’s that sound I hear at the beginning? Yes that’s right stirring starts with the ‘s’ sound etc. 

Although your first instinct might be to have the child in the picture decide what the caption should be, consider inviting other child to perform this role. When conducting a group lesson you must always think in terms of maximizing group engagement. The child featured in the picture is already engaged because he/she is the 'star of the moment'. It therefore makes sense to broaden your ‘engagement reach’ by inviting the remaining students to compose the caption.

If you’ve generated a collaborative group writing project, consider printing the final document on heavy weight paper.  Laminate and bind the pages. Don’t forget to include a title page and a listing of the authors.  Consider establishing a bin in your classroom where books co-authored by the class can be available for reading. 

2.     Print out individual copies of the template with the pictures inserted and
encourage students to write their own captions. If a student is unable to use paper and pencil, consider making a digital version that substitutes a text box for the handwriting guidelines.  

      I think you’ll find that personalized books tend to be very popular!

… 'til the next post …  

© 2015  Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.