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Engaging Reluctant writers in Yr7/8. Alex Fraser

Using e-learning to engage and motivate reluctant writers.

 

School type:

Barton Rural is a rural school 5 minutes south of Timaru with a roll of 130 students. It is a full primary with 6 classrooms.

 

Cluster:

We are a part of the Aoraki Rural cluster which includes 10 other schools from around South Canterbury. All cluster schools have identified a “Teaching as Inquiry” focus for their 2011 ICT PLD.

Each school’s inquiry question focuses on how ICT Tools, strategies and thinking can be used in teaching and learning to improve student achievement in a selected aspect of learning. Our school had identified improving written language using eLearning as our Inquiry Focus for the year.

 

Intentions.

Our focus for the year was on raising achievement in written language across the school.  There was a group of reluctant writers in the Yr 7/8 area, especially with boys.  They didn’t have the motivation to write any sort of quality work that they couldn’t see the purpose for.

Our lead teacher had seen the program SPORE used in the classroom to give the students a purpose to write and motivate them. The students had to write about an imaginary character and describe its features and the environment it lived in, in detail. This created some powerful thought within the class as the students then described the way their creature used its defence mechanisms, as well as its features for survival.  The students were given a checklist of the different features to think about their creature, they were able to then go back through their writing and rework some aspects that they hadn’t thought of. The students talked with each other to discuss the different environmental factors that affected their creature, and how they could cope with different factors.

Once they had completed their written description they could go and create it using SPORE. While creating they came across some features that they hadn’t written about and then had to change in their writing.

 

 

Impact on the students.

The impact on the students was very positive. I found that my more reluctant writers were highly motivated to develop a character that they could then go on to create. Because creating the character was to be done on SPORE they were more willing than if they were to just draw this. Students created their descriptions well and some did this with a very high standard. I found that some rushed the writing process due to wanting to go straight on to the software. The checklist that Hayden provided worked really well for the students as they could evaluate their own work to see if they had included all of the details. This was a great tool for the students who rushed, as they could re-work their writing to the standard that had been set out for them. Overall I found that this learning experience was very good for the students and all were on task and motivated to learn.

 

 

Next Steps.

The next step for my teaching is to be aware of more of these programmes that can be integrated within the curriculum. I found this was a great opportunity for me and the students which had positive results in their learning. I will definitely be integrating more lessons like this in my programme.

 

Alex Fraser