The learning intention for this lesson was for the children to write an original story, based on the characters and themes found in the wonderful picture book, 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson.
The video shows the class being introduced to their task for the week, as well as my working alongside my Bubbles writing group at my teacher table. For my top writers, I was looking to extend their thinking, to include adjectives to describe the characters, and later, in a follow-up session, speech marks showing dialogue between two characters. The writing had the purpose of culminating in an animation created using a template I made for Explain Everything.
I was really happy with the discussion that we had that further unpacked the themes in the story. The children enjoyed being given license to play with their own ideas, adding in extra characters and thinking of their own contexts for the characters to interact in. Many children enjoyed extending the theme of eating up the other character for dinner, while other children decided their characters were to be friends.
I was a little frustrated by the end results of their writing. While some children really listened and got onboard with the learning outcomes I was trying to achieve, it was a bit too much of a stretch for many. I need to remind myself sometimes that we are still rather early in their Year 2 years, and it is unrealistic to expect that all children will feel confident enough to be truly original, or explore exciting vocabulary.
What was a real success however, was the ability for all children to participate to their fullest in this lesson. The children who are still very dependent on having teacher writing to copy, as they are unable to form many letters with confidence independently, had some of the most creative animations completed in Explain Everything. This provided them with a great opportunity to be a story teller and engage with the themes and content of the book.
Things to Note
There were quite a few different steps involved in this lesson. From introducing a changed-up Cinderella story, to revisiting our work and adding in speech marks and dialogue, as well as working with three different writing ability groups, to explaining the steps involved in creating an Explain Everything animation. It was easily a week's worth of work, and a lot of fun! I recommend you check out the Extended Lesson Plan above. This lesson in also followed up in my next episode, where we take our ideas from our writing, and learn to create on Scratch Junior.