Saturday, March 12, 2016

Using free technology to start a drama in the classroom

I love environmental issues, technology and drama, so mixing them up is something that makes the curriculum come alive for me. This week my class will become The Asian Elephant Rescue Centre (The ARC), based in the rain forest of Borneo. The first dilemma that will start us off is that a baby elephant has fallen into a water pit and is unable to get out. The mother is so distressed that she is charging at anyone who comes close. This will create opportunities for thought tracking, pupil in role, decision alleys and role on the wall.

As always, when  I am planning for mantles such as this, I have an idea about what I want to do, then I search google to see if anything exists that I can use (and pretend to be mine). There usually is! This time I have found video footage of a charging Asian elephant and a bay elephant stuck in a pit in China. Perfect! I can adapt those.

For the baby elephant footage, I have used screencast-o-matic to make it sound like I am recording the elephant myself. It's not perfect, but it will do. 

For the charging elephant I will use a video straight from Youtube, which I have downloaded to my computer using the ss trick as we can't access Youtube in school... 

A bit later in the 'story' I will use a news page, adapted using x-ray goggles, to help make the news our own. I am considering teaching my class to use this, but they may be a bit young. 

Something I will definitely use during this mantle is Doink green screen app. The children can record themselves as if they are in the rainforest,  near to the baby elephant, or the charging elephant. Of course they will be told that this is all in our imaginations. In my experience, my children have been disappointed to learn that things aren't real when we first start using drama in September, but by this point in the year they understand that we are using our imaginations to make our learning exciting. History (The Great Fire of London and Florence Nightingale topics) has been particularly popular.

Planning the smart way?

It has taken me under fifteen minutes to find and prepare the films, then about the same for the hacked news page. I will also practise using Doink at school, where I have some green fabric tucked away. The value in doing these for me is that they help focus my thoughts on where the mantle will go, to start off with. The children will guide the rest of the way. The point is that I have planned for a unit of work quickly, in a practical way, which is how I prefer to work. I have a 2 minute mindmap on paper and I may complete one using popplet (I will add it here if I do), but I won't have a detailed plan. I have the objectives in my copy of my class's curriculum for 2015-16, which I will highlight and date. Minimal paper plans, but lots of planning will take place throughout. Most importantly (in my opinion) is that I am excited about teaching this and I really believe that excitement and passion is picked up on and replicated by the children. We will cover geography, art, DT, ICT, PSHE/citizenship and English in this unit. Can't wait!

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