This comment came from a cheery chap on his way back from an ICT skills session one morning. I was sure he must have been doing more than this but he was insistant, that bold was what he had been doing.
Word processing and desktop publishing, units can be integrated in really interesting and exciting ways within Literacy Sessions to encourage engagement with texts at a whole text and word level. A unit I have just carried out with a group of year 3 children really fired them up, and helped them explore poems in more depth. We all began with the same acrostic, Rainbow by David Whitehead. I typed out the poem using MS Word, and then copied the file as a template to each student's folder.
We began the session by sharing and exploring the poem on the Interactive Whiteboard. I began by embolding and changing the colour of the initial letters of each line, to match those of a rainbow. The students quickly spotted how each line began with a letter in the word rainbow, and that rainbow was spelt out down the left of the poem. We discussed how by highlighting letters and words we could alter their appearance, shape colour and size using the formatting tools on the tool bar, and at their workstations the children were asked to recolour the word rainbow wherever it appeared throughout the text. As the session unfolded we began to extend this, and to consider how we might change the font style, colour, shape or size to help the words on the page reflect their meanings, and how we might make verbs look like their actions, eg arching, growing or fading. The children really enjoyed experimenting and playing with the text in this way.
During the following sessions, the wordprocessed text was revisited, and ideas children had used were shared. This is one of the joys of a network and access to an IWB, all ongoing work is accessible for sharing and evaluation by a wider audience. The completed texts were copied and pasted to Microsoft Publisher, where it became part of a designed poetry book page. The students searched the clipart gallery and inserted images to reflect the content of the poem. These were dragged around and placed to suit their ideas. Sometimes as page backgrounds, and sometimes as illustrations. Working with the poem in this way really challenged their comprehension skills, as well as engaging them in learning those ICT skills necesary to complete their project, and which I had set out to teach and consolidate. We have published our acrostics as a class book, and despite beginning with the same file each poem is far from identical. The different text styles, graphic elements and spacial qualities of each page make all individual, and in themselves are discussion points about how visual resources can be used to create and change the meanings we present.
The children went on to play a limerick game, applying the skills they had acquired in these tasks to design and make their own poetry pages. The poetry books we made, the text file we began and reference for the source of our Limerick game are presented within the Year 3 Community pages of our School Website.