Subject: English Language (creative writing) and Media Literacy
Class: Although this learning scenario was aimed at Upper Secondary students, it was easily adapted to Primary school students.
Intention: The main idea of this session was for students to work collaboratively in producing a short story on one assigned picture.
I have chosen to implement the learning scenario by Nataša Tram, as it involved important 21st-century skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
Groups of students were assigned a different photograph from Europeana’s collection, come up with a title and write a short story about it. With every bell played by the teacher, students had to rotate and find a new group to work with. Lastly, students had to read their stories to their peers and give constructive criticism accordingly.
Setting up the class and activities
As an introduction to the activity, the students were familiarised with the method of the world café stories, where a network of collaborative communication is at the centre of the work. Although we’ve used a Round-Robin method for writing before, this was the students’ first time working on the world café method.
In class, we used the group work setting. Therefore, for the first round of writing, the students were left seated in their usual places. Having this type of setting in class allows me to go around the class and monitor students easily. I believe that this setting allows positive collaboration and communication and contributes to student learning, retention and overall success.
A team leader (the host) from each group was chosen, and given a coloured training bib and each photo from the Europeana’s collection was linked to one particular colour. Teams had to find their assigned photo, evaluate, discuss the theme around it, come up with a title, and start working on their story.
During the writing part, I played some calm music to stimulate students’ concentration. Every moment I turned up the music indicated that the groups were going to change soon. After 10 minutes I rang a bell, which meant that students had to change their groups and continue working on a different story. This was done a couple of times until each group finally returned to their original place.
One of the main reasons for choosing this learning scenario was the fact that it allowed plenty of opportunity for group work and collaboration. I believe this helps students engage more with what is going on in the classroom. In addition, I believe they enjoy themselves more because it is a lot different compared to the routine of having individual work all day long.
Throughout each activity, I have emphasised about the importance of proper communication, where all opinions and ideas are heard.
One of the most interesting things which I observed during this implementation was the fact that children who are not used to work together, were not only looking forward to doing so but managed to do it excellently and ended up playing and looking for each other during break time.
I truly believe that communication has the potential to build effective working relationships especially when there are positive classroom interactions. Sharing of ideas and discussion provided the students with an opportunity to interact with one another, share and learn from each other unique perspectives. This, in turn, deepened their learning and knowledge.
I believe that students value intelligence and are fascinated by new technologies. Technology facilitates learning. Therefore, in addition to the learning scenario created by Nataša Tram, I opted to include digital competences as another skill. As a final conclusion to all activities, after reading their stories to their peers and peer assessment took place, the children were asked to write their stories on the app found on their tablets called Author Premium. Later on, they published their work on ClassConnect.
Students are engaged when they have positive motivational goals within a positive classroom climate. I believe that this learning scenario provided ample chance for students to work collaboratively towards reaching a common goal. Strategies and methodologies during this implementation facilitated learning as both myself and the students had clear and achievable goals which in turn aided pupils in critical areas of development.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?
World Café Stories by Nataša Tram
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