Today I have been working with year 9 students in Bracknell who were composing poetry and illustrating it using Piclits.com. The quality of images on Piclits is excellent and I was very impressed by the imagination shown by the young people in the class, who found Piclits easy and fun to use. Such a good, simple resource that can be used in so many ways!
Travelled to Newcastle last week for my first web 2.0 writing workshop and it was a blast! I worked with 14 year 7 students and the workshop was a reward for good behaviour, hard work etc for them - they had been booked to see Robert Muchamore but unfortunately the event was cancelled, no pressure there then ;0) . The workshop was on the theme of superheroes and villains so we started the day with a chat about ourselves and whether we considered we are good readers/writers, most of the kids didn't think they wrote much at all but when I pointed out that using Facebook, fansites, MSN etc counts they changed their minds. Went on to discuss the importance of using good descriptive words in their stories and gave out a neo notebook to each group of 3 students, they then spent time listing superhero/villain words. After beaming all the words to one neo we created a wordcloud in Tagxedo on the board and the boys and girls made their own on individual computers, they loved being able to change the shape of them and experimented with using different images for this.
Storybird to create picture books online next and what a popular choice this was. Students loved the variety of images they could choose and were very inventive with their text - think 'destructinators' was the best word of the day!
Some reading aloud from Andy Briggs excellent Hero.com got them in the mood for storywriting and they completed a writing frame with details such as 'how did your superhero/villain get their powers?' and 'who is their arch nemesis'. They went off to lunch buzzing and the librarian, Beth and myself had a well earned cup of tea.
Story writing in word in the afternoon (had intended to do this direct into the blog on www.writepath.ning.com but unfortunately it was blocked - the stories are there now though if you would like to read them).Think my favourite name was HighHeelah but they were all very inventive. Ending on a high we used Hero Machine to design the way our characters looked and during this I took the kids aside individually to ask about their thoughts of the day and captured this on video.
Absolutely fantastic students to work with and they were all very appreciative and came to say thanks at the end of the day - I was very impressed with their manners and enthusiasm.
I have now sent a disc to Beth with photos and videos, the completed writing frames, stories, wordclouds and Hero Machine images so that she can use them for display and to show other departments. Wonderful day, it was great to be working with kids again and I can't wait for the next one!
What a wonderful visit to Guernsey I had! I arrived at lunch time on World Book Day to find colleague and friend Kate Garnett presiding over a buzzing book signing event for students that had taken part in the Write Path. The published authors were having great fun signing their books, the paper tablecloths, a wall display.....and well, anything that didn't move really!! Lovely polite kids, they gave me a round of applause when Kate introduced me and were very interested to find out how I had originally got the idea for the Write Path. After explaining as best I could (all about little ideas growing when you least expect it) I told them that they were the ones that deserved a clap for the stunning prose they came up with. One of the boys names is the same as a famous horror writer so maybe they had an advantage ;0) . Apparently all of their parents had attended the event and had their books signed as well as enjoying a cup of tea with the boys. Kate had told them that they had to write something nice in the books for their mums and dads - and in return the parents had to agree not to ruffle their hair or kiss them, think it was a pretty good deal personally. The bowls of jelly babies were what caught my eye and very nice they were too but I think the boys thought the chocolate cake was best ....it certainly disappeared quickly enough. It was a really lively, happy event and I can't thank Kate enough for letting me share it. (photos on my Flickr account)
After a break to recover from all of the excitement I led a web 2.0 inset session for members of the English and MFL departments. We were a little late starting as we had to send them all back to get their laptops, they hadn't thought they would actually have to do anything but I wanted them to see how much fun it is to 'play' with applications. One teacher was very nervous at the start of the training and was convinced she wouldn't be able to make anything work, her face was a picture at the end when she had managed to start her first Glog! There is still so much fear in the education world about web 2.0, great to be able to dispel some of this. The session was fuelled by more jelly babies and cake which was much appreciated! Interestingly all the teachers liked different apps which bodes well for future deployment.
The morning after was spent revisiting places I hadn't seen since I was a youngster of 9 years and I arrived home after the short flight proud that I had managed my first solo flights etc without mishap. Well......that's what I thought until I got out my laptop to sign on the net.....and discovered it wasn't my laptop at all!! A call to the airline established that it belongs to one of their staff and I remember him being at Customs at the same time as me, it appears he picked up the wrong machine. Now awaiting a phone call so that we can organise a swap - it's a good job I have a back up lappy lol!
My blog is a collection of thoughts and I hope you will learn something about me from the ramblings as well as finding some useful links. I'm Bev Humphrey and I'm a Literacy, School Libraries and Technology Consultant. I am self employed so views expressed are solely my own.