For about 3 months students have been completing reading responses at a very regular and consistent pace and what they create is amazing. At the same time, as a teacher, I have been making recommendations to students for books to read each month based upon what I think are good books. But recently, something scary dawned upon me, I’m not a young boy any more. I need to do something better to help students choose books.
I regularly share students’ work with students and parents to let them know how proud I am of them. Then it smacked me in the face, like a giant tree branch when you’re not paying attention walking down the street – the students are making all these amazing recommendations.
I brushed off the leaves and I started scanning some of the work that the students had shared with me. and for the very first time, here is the work from April. Students who read books and put in a huge amount of effort to recommend the books that they read.
Please enjoy them as much as I did, and, if the book suits your taste, check it out, either from our library, or from EPIC.
Since we last met we have had a few changes. At the end of December Shooting Star moved and we ventured into a bigger and more exciting building with a lot more space for us to spread our wings and try out new things. We’re still getting our footing, but here’s a small look at how things are taking shape.
Creative Writing with a Lego Block Twist
To start off the blog in style, we thought we’d give the students a chance to blow off some steam. One of my favourite things to do during vacation is to build things. Since we moved we were able to find the Lego that we had stashed away for a rainy day. So, we brushed off the dust and got out thinking minds in gear. All stories are unedited and from the student’s minds.
This was a fun start to something that I would definitely like to continue. In hindsight I would create worksheets to help some of the students who struggled to think about the setting, characters, and problems of their stories.
The next logical step I see for this will be to ask students to join small groups and create short stop-motion videos. The students will add the voice-overs, sound effects and narration all on their own. I’ve tried this in the past with a small group of middle-school students, but not on a larger scale. It would be awesome to see how this goes down and how creative the children can be.
We wanted to share a few more of our student’s work. Scroll down to the bottom to see other students’ presentations.
This fall, Shooting Star English held its first set of English presentations. Due to the pandemic we decided that we would hold the presentations online for the safety of the students, limiting the number of students who were present. One of the bonuses of this meant that we were able to present to parents who might not have been able to attend presentations normally using YouTube. We had such a great time from beginning to end. Let me break down how things went.
We started off by writing our own presentations. Students were differentiated into different levels based upon how long they had been studying English with us, and their ability. Each student chose a specific topic within their theme. Once completed, student and teacher sat down together to review their work and see what improvements we could make together.
Once we completed our presentations, we got set on preparing for one of the most important aspects of presentations – how we present.
Students were educated on their posture, gestures, intonation, word stress and pronunciation to name but a few of the necessary presentation skills they would need to be successful.
For 6 weeks we practiced each of the skills independently, incorporating them into their roster. We higlighted their key words in their presentations so they could consider which words to say louder than others. For pacing we sped up some sections and slowed down others to keep the presentation not only interesting, but give it the dramatic effect that a good presentation has. The students had amazing rhythm in their presentations. Finally, the students’ gestures added animation to their presentation. Instead of standing still, like lifeless rocks, the students added feeling to their speeches and stories. We felt the important of topics that the students cared deeply about.
Our presentations were held over a couple of days. We did our best to make sure that the students were not only well prepared, but were motivated to present. We explained the main purpose of the presentations were to help them learn pertinant life skills that would follow them for the rest of their lives. The students took this information and flew with it. Here are a few great examples of some of the presentations that the students presented on the day. As stated before, students were given differentiated themes based upon their ability which is in the captions below.
In the end, both teachers and students felt a sense of pride and achievement.
As teachers, we weren’t quite sure how the students would respond to the presentations. I wasn’t sure if they’d put in the effort to memorise, or even come to stand in front of a camera. The overwhelming euphoria at the end of the presentations both Victoria teacher and I felt when the presentations were completed is still with me days later as I wrote this.
Students and their parents have messaged us, thanking us for helping them learn such valuable skills. The pride the students felt was apparent as they were asking to watch their videos again, and even some students wanted to have another go in front of the camera they enjoyed it that much.
As an educator I cannot thank my students enough for how much they tried during these presentation, especially during the pandemic. But, maybe the presentations offered an outlet for them to either distract, or vent their frustrations. Either way, we’re hoping that next years Shooting Star Online Presentations will be even more successful than this years, all because of our wonderful, Shooting Star students. Thank you.