In the middle of all of our rehearsals for our Christmas production of Peace Child we delivered a short poetry unit of work based around Rose Blanche by Ian McEwan and Roberto Innocenti. This is a sad tale about the discovery of a concentration camp through the eyes of a little girl, Rose Blanche. (Incidentally, it reminds me of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas which I watched recently - what an ending!)
I wanted to try to inspire the children and ensure that I got good work from them even though their minds were on something else. I enjoyed reading about @arsenalchris's experiences of Voicethread and have used Wallwisher in our school website. So I decided to try these two excellent sites for the first time in the classroom.
Voicethread allows you to comment on a picture. After uploading a picture, you login and then use your microphone to record your comment. As many comments as you like can be added. The picture then plays back with the comments over the top.
Wallwisher allows you to gather messages by adding 'sticky notes' to the wall.
The children were asked to write a haiku based on the one of the pictures in Rose Blanche. Once they had drafted and edited their work, they added their work to a Wallwisher. This was a great way to see all of the poems at once. Something that I wish I had done was to produce a Wordle of all of the poems so that the children could see the strong themes that were emerging.
After adding their work to Wallwisher they shared their poem on a Voicethread. Each child was given an identity so that they could add their poems. The first time using this website proved to be remarkable simple.
The entire unit of work only lasted for a couple of days so I think with more time the quality of work could have been a little better. But the use of these two websites certainly kept the children focused at a time when it's easy for them to lose interest.
Now, as I've said, this was the first time I've used both in the classroom. After Christmas I plan to use them in more detail. Our first unit when we return in January is one based on The Borrowers. I wonder if we can use them in this unit...