Prezi and a comprehension project

October 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm 2 comments

I have used The Twits as the focus for recent English lessons with a group of eight children (who are taught by me in Support for Learning for their English class). I was looking for an interesting way to wrap this up, and decided to issue the children a challenge to create ‘freeze frame’ images for each chapter of the book, which I would photograph. I split them into groups, each with responsibility for certain chapters in the book. I hoped the task would show:
– comprehension of the events in the story, including those we studied some time ago
– whether the children could ‘summarise’, by picking out the key moment in each chapter.

I gave them access to paper and pens so they could draw props/backgrounds etc. I had thought they would mainly ‘act out’ the story (we had done a little of this while reading it), with a few drawings to supplement, but they used the paper more than I expected.

The children were very excited by the idea, and keen to complete the challenge. They clearly showed recall and comprehension of the main events in the story. They showed less ability to pick out the ‘key moment’ in their chapters.

All were challenged by the need to collaborate with their partners. One group found it nearly impossible to organise themselves, keep to time and work together – for the final session, I decided rather than allowing them to ‘fail’ to complete the task, to give them an idea for each chapter and a list of jobs each to complete. This was a last resort as it took away the essential learning and assessment opportunities in the challenge, but I think it was important for their self-esteem. Interestingly, they are arguably the most ‘literate’ children in the group, being able to read independently and with understanding, unlike most of the others.

Overall, I feel it was a worthwhile task, and largely enabled me to make my assessments as I’d hoped. Beyond the reading comprehension, it was a relevant and practical talking and listening experience for the children, and I learned a great deal more about each of them as learners through observing them with this challenge.

For my own learning, I thought I’d put the children’s photos into Prezi , which was mentioned on a recent Learning and Teaching Scotland update. I’m still fumbling around with it a bit, mystified by the varying sizes in the text and the erratic autoplay (sure if I actually watched the guide videos all would be clear), but it’s lovely: very pretty, quite intuitive, with freebies for educators – deluxe.


Entry filed under: literacy-communication.

100 books every child should read

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hilery Williams  |  October 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Great idea. It’s so hard for youngsters to distil the main idea from everything else isn’t it?
    As someone who’s worked with children with learning difficulties for many years, I’d be interested in seeing the photos.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • 2. katymacdougall  |  October 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks Hilery. I’ve never yet found a good way to help children to summarise! I meant to say in my post that if I was doing it again, I might try it as a rolling challenge as we read the book, allowing more time for discussion of the key moment for each chapter.

    I will investigate what permissions we have and see if I can publish the Prezi…


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