28.1.15

Under the Sway of literature

Under the Sway of literature

Sharing creativity with 3rd graders
"I soon found myself surrounded by a swarm of kids buzzing happily and eagerly awaiting to read their stories to their peers."
Can literature, children’s creativity and technology mix together in a fine blend? Since
technology became an integral part of our daily teaching practice, I’ve often seen parents expressing concern that their kids will put aside reading books for the sake of their tablets. Yet, these two can complement each other. Below you can read what I did with my third graders (8 years old) to boost extensive reading, facilitate creative writing in English – they are not native speakers – and trigger their imagination.  I feel fortunate that my pupils responded enthusiastically to the project I assigned.

Doukas school has a well-stocked library with graded readers suitable for their level and the
librarian, Stavroula Koliopoulou loves her job.  The learners are given a guided tour by the librarian at the beginning of the year and they are actively encouraged to visit it and borrow books through a series of tasks.

Shortly before closing for Christmas, I asked them to do the following project over the holidays:



Borrow a book from the library. If you wrote the story from the beginning, what would you write? Give your own version.  Change the beginning, ending, plot or characters or anything else you want

The students had to produce a draft and illustrations to accompany it. Some students made minimal changes to the stories, trying to be on the safe side and avoid mistakes. Others came up with imaginative versions of the story incorporating new elements and a touch of humour. The primary aim – to encourage my young learners to try creative writing – was met successfully.

My aim was to work gradually on the project. To my surprise though, the vast majority of my students brought their stories in beautifully handcrafted booklets.

 I soon found myself surrounded by a swarm of kids buzzing happily and eagerly awaiting to read their stories to their peers. The problem that arose is that while reading most kids could not see the illustrations – some books are tiny and the artwork could not be seen even from a relative short distance.





Technology to the rescue…
Looking for ways to help them, I figured out that I could scan the books and project them on a screen
at the library or an Interactive Whiteboard. Yet, I wanted to avoid the usual slide change which can be quite boring so I looked for new tools.
 I found Sway®, a new tool can help my students share their work in a most appealing way. I scanned the content of the books, uploaded them  and created Sway presentations to help my students share their books with the rest of the class. Click on the link  below to look at one of the presentations:




"Mouse to the rescue"



The book is now available in digital form and we are getting ready to visit the library with my class for a reading session with all my young learners.


Can’t wait to hear them reading their stories to their classmates! 
Dimitris Primalis