One thing I hate about the start of the new term is the “In the holidays, I did…..” recounts. Surely there is nothing more boring for the kids to write and for teachers and the audience to read. This term I was determined to avoid this at all costs.
Earlier in the year, we had our senior learning community camp. I had no intention of making my class write recounts of what had been a challenging, inspiring and fantastic week – it is so hard to capture the essence of the experience in this way. We instead wrote time lines that we published using www.prezi.com. Essentially we were still recounting our experiences, but choosing 10 – 15 moments from camp to explain in more depth. The children wrote with enthusiasm and the language that came from these captured their time and experiences in ways that, I believe, would not have come from if we had sat and wrote the recounts. The other spin off from this was that because it was not writing long passages but rather shorter snippets, the more reluctant writers in the class were engaged possibly due to the perception of not writing lots of lines about one thing. The experiences were seen as stand alone pieces of writing rather than one long piece.
I wanted to capture this passion for writing about our holiday experiences but wanted to try something different than what we had done previously – a new technology? But what?
Attending ULearn10 in Christchurch over the holiday period, I came up with an idea to try. Pecha Kucha (although for some reason I call it Pikachu most of the time). Japanese for Chit Chat. A presentation format based on a 20 x 20 approach. 20 images spoken about for 20 secs – ultimately the entire presentation lasting 6 mins 40 secs. Speakers chose images that reflect what they would like to talk about and then are given 20 seconds to speak on each. Tuesday evening of ULearn I attended my first Pecha Kucha and listened to 8 talented educators from around the globe talk about their passions and experiences in education. Each presenter spoke on different topics which left me taking on board a lot of information that I am still synthesizing.
Fast forward to day 1 of term 4. Knowing that the kids were eager to share their holiday stories with their peers and myself, I made the decision to run a mini version of the Pecha Kucha – 6 x 20 (6 images – 20 secs on each). We looked at what a pecha kucha was, looked at how we could find images that reflected our holidays (remembering I hadn’t asked them to take or find images throughout their holidays) and how we would present our stories.
Our WALT’s (We are learning….to…) were:
how to use google advanced image search
how to write a concise version of an experience
how to present to an audience
Our SC (success criteria) were: (co-constructed with the students)
*We can find 6 images that reflect our holidays
We can write about an experience that will be 20 seconds long when spoken
We can use interesting language to help engage our audience
We can give information that is relevant to a topic
We can speak clearly
We can run our own presentations.
Thursday of week 1 saw the first of the presentations and the students had exceeded what I had expected of them. All the students had been able to find the images that they wanted, whether it was logos, movie banners, local beaches or clip art churches.
Excited by what they achieved, I looked forward to Friday’s set of presentations. Again the students did an amazing job. Yes, there were the students whose 20 sec’s were more like 10 seconds and then there were those who exceeded the limit, but for all that, I had students who were eager to present, had (for the most part) written entertaining and informative segments and were engaged with their listening skills.
One thing that I was very proud of was one of my students who has struggled academically, working below their peers by 4 years. This student was able to find the images, write the information for the presentation and then most importantly stand in front of the class and present their writing – something that would not have happened in the past. Whether it was this format or other factors, this is a huge step for this student.
Our Next Steps:
After a successful first time pecha kucha, we will be allowing for more this term. Being a year 5/6 composite class, I already have envisioned our end of year reviews will be done in this style (if the students desire). We still need to work on getting timing right, moving away from reading directly from books to using the images as prompts, and ensuring that all our writing is entertaining and informative (not cutting off half way through a story was an issue for some students).
Four students present Pecha Kucha – Mini style
Click here to watch