The crocodile in the playground


Still working with Stage 1 on literacy projects this term, I was thrilled with our latest digital success story, again developed from a storyboard, a brainstormed narrative – and all photographed on my iPhone using local found objects and other existing props!

The main difference in approach this time was that the students weren’t currently studying one particular fairy tale in class. My first two batches of Stage 1 students this term took their inspiration from Goldilocks and the three bears, three groups used themes from The ugly duckling and an assembly item, and another group parodied Hansel and Gretel”.

This time, though, instead of deliberately setting out to create a sequel, prequel or parody, we brainstormed “characters you might find in a fairy tale”. We then paired each one up with another character on the list. Thus, one storyboard, for example, featured a princess, a mermaid and a pony. Another combined the characters of a walking tree and a talking cubby house. The strongest storyline seemed to be the one pairing a ladybug with a crocodile and this was the one the students selected for brainstorming their jointly constructed narrative. The ladybug who lost her spots is a digital fairy tale by Class 1S, partly inspired by a clever plot device from the 1963 picture book, “Swimmy” by Leo Lionni. This book was not read to the students. Rather, the students’ description of how a group of ladybugs might thwart a hungry crocodile began to remind me of the old picture book (a Caldecott Medal winner), and I suggested it as a partial solution. The result is perhaps more of a fable than a fairy tale, but ladybugs losing their spots, and being able to retrieve them again, is the “magical” quality, I guess.

What made this particular set of lessons so exciting is the feedback provided to our Reading Recovery teacher by one of our ESL students, and then relayed to me. This student was able to relate the entire plot of the story while it was still in pre-production, and the teacher had never seen him so animated and articulate about his learning before. A great result all round!

Our other digital fairy tales are here.

One thought on “The crocodile in the playground

  1. I was asked today why I like to use my iPhone for taking digital photos at school, rather than using the school’s digital cameras.

    I used to hate, hate, hate, getting the staff room safe open, putting the digital camera on the charger a few hours in advance of needing it, making sure no one turned it off or put it away again, finding the right memory card for the right camera, downloading the photos into a free PC and work, emailing them home so I could Photoshop them, emailing them back overnight… Some teachers have brought in personal digital cameras, then misplaced them.

    With my iPhone, it’s always in my pocket, always charged and ready, and I can simply aim and shoot. When I get home, the photos automatically download into my Mac when I plug my iPhone in to be charged up. My completed Mac “Keynotes” are saved as PC “Powerpoints”, put onto a memory stick, then finally polishing back at school the next day. Done!

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