I never miss an opportunity to hear the great Tim Rylands (@timrylands) speak. His presentations are always jam packed with ideas to motivate and inspire learning. I have been very fortunate to hear Tim several times and each time the delegates leave the room with smiles on their faces and an expression of how to implement his ideas (as do I!) Tim is the WD40 to those rusty cog’s of learning (it is intended to be a compliment!) His seminar quickly became a participatory event where almost immediately we were standing, imitating parachuting down from above….what can I say? We were all doing it!!! Throughout, tools and links were given to direct us to the newest ideas that were in the main FREE (not to be sniffed out this day and age!) A very comprehensive list of tools for teacher’s toolkit. They are too many to list but as Mr R reminded us could be found through this link –https://bitly.com/bundles/mrwalkersmate/
Always a pleasure and always such a fruitful opportunity to loosen those rusty cogs!
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.
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.
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…
After a big build up yesterday, today was the launch of our new adventure into the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania via the Wii game Wild Earth African Safari. The children had viewed some YouTube videos yesterday to which they wrote an accompanying persuasive blurb. It was somewhat ironic that as we ventured into the African landscape, it began sleeting outside!! We talked about the landscape and animals that would live there and why which built up nicely to today’s exciting safari. All was going really well but unfortunately one of the children felt sick (and then was promptly sick – not sure if it was the motion sickness from the game or a bug??) Once that was sorted, onwards we went, exploring the landscape and taking notes from the information given on the screen. The children did a valiant job of taking the required photographs in their role of photojournalist/jeep driver. Much excitement was had by way of children calling out instructions, directions and whilst taking notes about the elephants together with operating the controller and num chuck! They have learnt several things from today, to use more subtle movements regarding the controller, teamwork and co-operation and how to jump a mile when faced with a lion!!!!! (It was almost like watching a 3D film as they all jumped backwards….) Assignment 2 awaits us tomorrow where the focussed animals are giraffes. Fingers crossed that there are no more dashes to the sink!!!!
Over the past few weeks my class (Year 5) have been playing My Word Coach on the Wii during Guided Reading and writing sessions. They have worked in their guided groups at improving their vocabulary and spelling. By getting more proficient at the game (i.e. more successes) this unlocks further games for them to play. The game cleverly picks up that they are improving and makes the words a little more challenging. I have to say that my children are really enjoying it! (Only two don’t have a Wii at home!!) They are learning and improving their word skills without really knowing that they are doing it because it is in a format they recognise – a game!! One of the best things that has come from this has been the collaboration and team work that the children have had to employ in order to become more successful. This is only the beginning for Bowood Class as we plan to use other games across various areas of the curriculum to reinforce and consolidate learning. Watch this space…