I came across Pie Corbett’s book on teaching non-fiction genres in the last couple of weeks and I have found it an energizing read. For many of us, last year’s literacy plans can get a bit stale and something fresh is often more welcome. Well I have found a fresh approach and the foundations of good plans here in Pie Corbett‘s book.
The Talk for Writing approach is essentially good Literacy teaching,in that the class are initially immersed in a high quality text, they analyse features and components and then finally innovate on this through writing their own. Along the way there is a good deal of quality talk through debates and starter activities which further immerse the children in the language they need. Not to mention mapping the text graphically in order for children to really get to grips with the routes they need to walk when writing in an unfamiliar genre.
Our focus was discussion texts and I was thrilled to read that the context in the book was Doctor Who. The two big questions highlighted were whether the Daleks should be allowed to stay on earth, followed by a discussion around whether the Doctor should give up his life and settle on earth.
I have been thrilled by the writing my class have cone up with in response to these questions. I attribute this to their thorough knowledge of the genre and the topics. We did this through debating the issue on “BBC news” and by using another Talk for Writing tool, planning out the text graphically.
This set of lessons was not full of ICT, however two resources really helped with the organisation and teaching of these subjects. In order to give the work greater authenticity I used X Ray Goggles from Mozilla, which allowed me to create a fake news story by substituting images and headlines (above). The discussion around the Doctor sacrificing his life of time travel in favour of the quiet life needed an examination of clips, images and typed up points. PowerPoint or keynote just seemed too much of a hassle for all these sources, embedding all the YouTube clips for one is always a pain. Furthermore, standard presentation software will limit the slides and videos to just one file on a laptop or memory stick. As an alternative I looked instead to my favourite new tool, Edcanvas. This gives so much more flexibility, both on what can be combined into presentations but as it is web-based it is also mobile. With this in mind I combined all the resources I needed into an Edcanvas lesson.
Alongside these I must also mention all the help I got from my friends on Twitter who threw in their hat into the debate about whether the Doctor should cease from being a Timelord. This gave real authenticity to our BBC style debate as a class as I was able to say that we had tweets coming into our studio.
No, he has essential science skills, a great memory, and an understanding of time travel that could help us in a crisis
— Paul Canal (@RedbridgeBlue) October 10, 2012
If he did, he’d always feel bored, wishing for the adventure again. He should never give it up. #timelord
— kevin mc laughlin (@kvnmcl) October 11, 2012
NO! Who would save the planets from their intergalactic enemies? #timelord
— Jo Neale (@jmpneale) October 11, 2012
Next week I am using some ideas from Jumpstart Poetry, also by Pie Corbett. I am going to integrate Evernote and Primary Wall as a means of collecting ideas for shared writing. I’ll blog about how I get on.
- Edcanvas – organising content for easy access. (antsict.wordpress.com)
- Being a non-english writer writing english. (sandscriber.wordpress.com)