The best learning experience I’ve designed to date was on practical experience with a grade 6 class (initially totally out of my comfort zone as in the past big kids were scary). I was put in charge of an literacy lesson on different types of texts and more specifically for this particular lesson the focus was advertising.
To paint the picture clearly so you can understand why I believe it was my best work it is important for me to define ‘best’. To me my best work is defined by the amount of student engagement and how many students are making connections to what they already know and developing further understanding of the new concept/s.
Leading up to this lesson I had been observing the students in the class, gaining an understanding of prior knowledge that they have and had found an interesting observation about a particular student (Lee). Lee was new to the school from China and English was her second language. She would zone out in lessons and throw her nose deeply into her Chinese novels. She did not participate in the lessons at all. I didn’t believe it was due to lack of interest but due to her inability to connect with and understand the content. Like Tameka in her blog I felt there was importance in inclusion and engagement so I made it my mission to cater to her individual needs, whilst allowing the other students in the class to form greater understanding of the main concept in writing an advertisement and how these might change depending on the audience you are advertising to.
I found a Chinese advertisement and an English advertisement for a popular hair product. I had Lee help me out the front of the class to translate the Chinese ad. We discussed the difference in the direction of the text(Chinese people read Up/down and right to left) and where the eye was being drawn (ads for English speaking countries are often created in a Z shape with text and pictures as this is the way the eye is naturally drawn). Lee blossomed having the opportunity to share her own prior knowledge and many students had an Aha moment when discussing how you may change your add depending on your audience.
This lesson then lead into a cross curricular activity whereby students were to learn about Asian countries for geography. The students needed to write a travel advertisement for an Asian country of their choice. Through problem based learning it was established that they would need to research the country they were advertising so as to know what would be appealing to their selected audience (Chinese or Australian) . We booked the computer room and researched, taking notes on important facts. We also looked at online advertisements and compared how effective they were in hooking the reader. I bought in travel brochures to look at single page advertisements in print.
Then for assessment it was time to create their full page advertisements for literacy and an accompanying fact sheet about their country for geography. Lee created an advertisement for a Chinese audience and with support from an teachers aide wrote her fact sheet in English.
This was my best learning experience because it catered for students individual needs, it was cross curricular, it required problem based learning and it incorporated ICT.
The icing on the cake was a card from Lee on my last day of prac saying
“Thank you for caring about me”