A digital day's work

19th November 2004 at 00:00
Returning from an exhausting day of re-enacting Victorian life as part of a history project, my class seemed likely to struggle with producing a coherent and detailed recount. Three Year 5 groups had carried out different activities at different stages of the day.

I soon realised that the photographs offered the perfect framework for structuring our recount. As the pictures downloaded, the images told the different groups' stories of their day, as each group's camera was simply recording each event in chronological order. Many of the children find that hard to achieve in a piece of writing.

Many of our learners prefer a visual and kinaesthetic approach to language and so we printed "thumbnail" sheets of their pictures. They could cut these up into individual small pictures which they could move around, repositioning the images until they were satisfied with their chronological order. We also worked with the interactive whiteboard we have just had fitted. Pupils could use the drag-and-drop facilities to move the photos around on-screen and create a visual timeline of events. They did this first in small groups and then the whole class shared the whiteboard. The children could zoom in on a picture and relive the event in greater detail.

Our visual timelines were ideal for sentence and word-level activities such as asking what adjective would best describe a room or what verbs they would associate with an event, and then what adverbs. Working with photos structured our writing in a fresh and exciting way and provided a stimulus for different learning styles. The recounts were some of the best work that the children had produced.

Colin Richardson, Year 5 teacherICT co-ordinator, St Monica's Primary School, Bootle, Liverpool

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