The last few weeks have been hectic to say the least but after dipping our toe into the world of games based learning with My Word Coach, we proceeded onto Wild African Safari. As mentioned in previous posts, we have covered a lot of ground (not just across the Serengeti National Park) but also with our literacy and ICT. At the beginning I was hoping to get the more reluctant writers engaged but as I have just finished marking their writing, I have found that my class has really enjoyed this topic and produced some lovely pieces of writing (I just wish I had begun earlier in order to have expanded even further across the curriculum). I will definitely do this again next year!! Even though this particular game has come to an end, I am looking forward to sharing my conclusions and ideas with colleagues in the project and beyond. I look forward to being involved in using Wild Earth African Safari and Another Code R with Year 6 after Christmas. If you have used any of the Wii games in your classrooms, I would love to hear from you, either comment below or tweet me at @nickynewbury.
Archive for December, 2010
The children have been writing diary entries about their very first day on safari. We have already experienced five assignments through the Serengeti National Park (read earlier posts to find out what happened) and now as a result of all the excitement, came the writing. There were some great descriptive phrases and feelings about their new adventure. Together with their diary entries, the children also wrote non-chronological reports on their chosen animal using the notes they made whilst ‘watching’ the safari. The information given throughout the Wii game was interesting, unusual and funny – which kept the children engaged. Their note taking skills were tested though as they were so immersed in the game at times, I had to signal when a note taking opportunity arose. The children this week have also created a Switcheroozoo creature and devised a brand new habitat for it. These can be viewed on their class blog (see Bowood’s Class blog button). Finally, (phew), a Wordle was made of their initial thought on viewing the Wii game. These must have impressed the children as they have gone home and made Switcheroozoo animals and Wordles in their own time – brilliant! Overall a productive few days…
What fun!!! A fantastic site called Switcheroozoo that allows children to create their own animal from a mixture of others. My children just loved the amusing and fantastical morphing of their favourite animals. They have named them amazing names and created a habitat that suits each of their new creations. The complete freedom and random nature of this site is a huge attraction and the giggles continued throughout the session in the ICT suite.
Thank you to all those people who have taken the time to look at and read our blog. We love sharing what we have been learning about in the classroom and would really enjoy reading what you think about our blog. So please feel free to leave a comment about what you have seen or what you are doing in your class or school.
Many days passed and not one flake settled. I was hearing and watching stories of drifts a foot (or 30cms) high, virtual standstill of traffic, school closures, snow fun on any slight incline that would accommodate a sledge and fantastic sculptures of a variety of shapes and objects. It felt like we were in a bit of a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ where this chaos hadn’t touched us. On Wednesday night we magically had a couple of cms and now we felt part of the group. Driving into work I kept thinking ‘be careful what you wish for’ as I too wanted snow like everyone was experiencing and now I had it. As I walked through the doors, the phones were ringing off the hook as to enquiries asking if the school was open. Our website server had crashed and the website was temporarily off line (whether this added to the thinking that the school might be closed – not sure??) Children then started arriving, having been asked to remove their shoes so as to keep the wetness inside to a minimum. Tiptoeing in stockinged feet added to the excitement. Then at last came playtime… only a smattering of snow compared to many but it didn’t stop the enjoyment that the children felt.
Up in a helicopter, rising above the Serengeti National Park! It’s great to have a completely different perspective of the savannah and its animals. The children are learning about new animals and ask to go and look them up so they know what to look for – the hydrax is a tricky one to find… Note taking skills are being used to great effect so far. We recap at the beginning of the session by looking at the previous assignment and the photographs we took. This ensures that no vital facts are missed. The hope is to complete a fact file on some of the animals and a diary entry of their first day ‘on safari’. Positional and directional language has improved due to the fact that other children are helping those using the controls.
‘This is SO cool…’ was the response of a reluctant writer who grabbed a pen and a dictionary (to find out about the animals) and wrote right to the very end!!
The excitement continued and all the tasks were assigned to the different groups. The sense of urgency was more today because the children realised that they had to get ALL the primary photographs or they would fail the assignment. Today was definitely better regarding the Wii controls, no motion sickness from anyone today!!!! However. there was one bone of contention – the frog! The children spent ages looking for one frog and the compass took them in the direction of the grazing giraffe herd and rhino. Perhaps the funniest part was when they were looking along the ground and water’s edge for the elusive frog when somebody called out to look up and in doing so came face to face with the rhino. We all jumped back together then collapsed into fits of laughter at what we had done. Finally all 30 photographs that were required had been taken and another assignment was completed – phew! Not sure what animals will be in focus tomorrow?? But, I can’t wait…