Q & A forum.
Literacy programs (Management)
Education (Methods)
Education (Management)
Cullen, Louise
Pub Date:
Name: Literacy Learning: The Middle Years Publisher: Australian Literacy Educators' Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Australian Literacy Educators' Association ISSN: 1320-5692
Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 3
Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States

Accession Number:
Full Text:
(Year 3 Class at Canberra Girls' Grammar School)

1. Identify a literacy challenge or goal in your classroom or educational setting and how you identified it.

The learning goals for the children in my class include instilling a love of learning and making transdisciplinary connections by transferring knowledge to new contexts as they deepen their understandings. The learning philosophy for the children is to engage in learning experiences where they are willing to take risks that enable them to make connections of knowledge. This is made easier if the children are having fun and being playful as they learn.

2. Briefly explain how you addressed this challenge--what strategies did you use?

We embarked on a Science/English Inquiry Unit based on the central idea 'People use light to communicate and make meaning'. We integrated ICT, drama, visual literacy (analysing film and picture book illustrations), poetry and music. The class was immersed in sessions on Refraction, Reflection, Colour, Light and Shadows. They listened, observed, experimented and discussed. After the sessions they reflected on their learning and recorded what they had learned for the class inquiry board to share their learning with others.

3. What was the process involved in implementing the strategies?

The students' ideas were transformed into small group dramatic presentations. The challenge for each group was to select five ways light is used to communicate and portray these in drama. Some of the dramatisations depicted; a lighthouse directing ships, an ambulance racing to the scene of an accident, burglars choosing a house where the lights are off, people getting into trouble (with a torchlight!) at the movies, a car trip with lots of corners and blinkers indicating a change of direction.

The Central Idea is the big understanding the participants in the inquiry develop. Through their dramatic performance the children had demonstrated understanding about how light is used to communicate and make meaning. Next we turned to film and picture book illustrations to explore how light adds meaning in those modes.

The use of a Learning Federation Learning Object 'Lights, Camera, Action' allowed the children to explore how lighting effects are used in films to add meaning. The Learning Object introduced the metalanguage of film lighting. It demonstrated how lighting techniques can communicate a time of day, by replicating natural lighting and shadow formation. It also explained how light is used to increase dramatic tension, to create feelings such as excitement, humour or fear.

4. How did the students respond?

The students took over. They engaged in a student initiated visual analysis. They were eager to apply their knowledge about how light and colour added meaning. As a result of the light inquiry the students were reading and viewing films, with critical awareness about text construction and the deliberate choices that were made to affect an audience.

5. What were the outcomes or results?

As poetry was a Term 2 syllabus requirement, the students were challenged to use their knowledge about how light conveys information in poems. They were invited to write Light Limericks, which were to be produced as digital photostories and published on the school's online management system Studywiz. The students deconstructed limericks, identified rhyming pattern and counted syllables to come up with the Limerick Formula. Students applied the formula, but with a shift in purpose of the text--no longer a nonsense poem written to entertain, but to describe how light conveys information. Using the original brainstorming of ideas--students were asked to select an idea and use it as the topic of a light limerick.

There was lots of experimentation and play as we developed the ICT skills required to create the narrated photostories. Using Sound Recorder and microphones, the children learned how to record their voices. This was an effective self assessment tool as they reflected on accuracy, expression & fluency of their reading.

Photostory 3 software was used to create digital photostories. To develop the ICT skills students used our class song 'The Climb' by Miley Cyrus, and illustrated it with general class photographs as they experimented and developed expertise.

To further highlight the transdisciplinary nature of this unit of inquiry during Religion and Philosophy lessons the children explored how light is used in worship and celebrations in many religions and how hymns and religious songs frequently include reference to light. The art lessons were linked to colour and the emotions they express. The students observed that without light we cannot have colour and that colour is created through light. A discussion about the affects of colours on emotions showed how this leads an artist to the choices they make in an artwork. The music teacher orchestrated a light medley, with each of the three Year 3 classes contributing a chorus line of a light related song. My class sang 'Light Surrounding You' by Evermore.

They performed at the whole school end of term chapel, which was very exciting and a lot of fun.
I see the light surrounding you
   So don't be afraid of something new
   'Cause I see the light surrounding you
   So don't be afraid of what you're turning into
Gale Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.