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PhotoStory3 +5yr olds

Photostory + children = chaos

A few weeks ago at TeachMeet Yorks & Humber 2010, I presented on how effective Photostory had been when used by Key Stage 2 children (7-11yrs). Ever the optimist, I decided that I would attempt to use photostory with my class (5-6yrs old). On top of this, I thought, I know, let’s link up with a year 1 class in a different school, switch children so we’ve got half each. Design, plan build and watch the photostories – all in 50 minutes.
The work was aimed to fit in with our literacy unit of information texts, and hit various other curriculum areas such as PHSE (teamwork & collaboration), Geography (locations), Speaking & Listening and others besides.
Children were to organise pictures of their school into a storyboard, looking at including either key words, a phrase or a sentence for each one. Children worked in groups of 3 to collaboratively create a photostory. The theory behind this was to incorporate discussion & compromise into the activity and to provide children with a peer support system if they felt that they were struggling or were less confident with using technology.
One last minute addition was to include year 5 pupils as helpers. Not as a get out for me as a teacher, but as learning mentors for the Year 1 children. It meant that they could problem solve and ask questions, keep the task moving forward and provide a link from the class to the teacher. They were brilliant and were a key factor in the success of the lesson (I would say, however, that if were I to not be able to expect this support, I would have had to have scaffolded activities over a series of lessons). Their role meant that the children were better supported and the yr5s acted as a catalyst for learning, prompting & engaging the children in my class well – without doing it all for them.
I took my new ‘class’ which consisted of my naughty/untrustworthy ones and the other teacher’s (Caroline Lang, Anchorsholme Primary School) ‘nice/well behaved’ ones up to the ICT suite to work on the computers up there with her Teaching Assistant, Miss Croft. Caroline stayed in my classroom with my Teaching Assistant, Karen Walker and had, surprisingly, my ‘nice/well behaved' ones and her 'naughty/untrustworthy' ones (Teachers will be teachers after all)!
The only difficulty we had was a technical one. The laptops wouldn’t connect to the strongest network signal (in my class) and were pulling off the office (admin) signal which is rubbish at the best of times. This in itself isn’t the worst thing, but the children were still engaged and busy and had a good time.
So, the success criteria of the lesson was as follows:
1. Children can use Photostory3 to create a movie
2. Children can work in groups
3. Children can select pictures, uploading from a file
4. Children can select music, uploading from a file
5. Children are aware of differences between the photostories of other children and can comment on those differences positively.
Ouch. Quite a lot there when you think about it. The children achieved the first 4. Some with support, others with 'help'. The most interesting point was looking at the children who were working ahead of my instructions. They were so engrossed in the activity that they were actively developing an understanding for the software themselves. That was great to see.
To have a look at some of their fantastic photostories, go to


Our next step is to peer assess over a program called VoiceThread. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is simply great. Click on this link to see our early attempt at using it. Pete Richardson (a yr 4 teacher in Preston) uses it extremely effectively and you can link to an example of it here it's call peer assessment 2.
As an addition to this, we are planning a reciprocal visit for my class to their school. This affords us the opportunity of experiencing a different classroom and school – and celebrate our differences and similarities.
I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of a good and long-lasting working relationship that the children can have throughout their Primary School lives.


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