Recently, we sat down with Northcross Intermediate Literacy Leader’s Jane Edington and Tui Bennett to hear how they found using the new Creativity Pack and Sentence Style Cards with their students. Here’s what they had to say:
Jane: ‘Teacher’s don’t normally do free writing, but when they do they say to their students: “free write.” And actually that’s quite hard. Because what happens is you get stuck because you’re sitting there trying to generate an idea from nothing. With the Creativity Pack and Sentence Style Cards it is free writing for fun, but you’re giving students a springboard to work within.’
Jane explains how a session unfolded: ‘One group ordered their Creativity Pack images and were reading each other’s stories silently. Someone said “I don’t think that makes sense.” And someone said, “Read it out loud.” So she read it out loud, and another student piped up: “That bit there didn’t make sense.”
‘This is a four-way conversation going on. Another student jumped in and said, “Yeah, okay, it makes sense now. But it’s got no wow factor.” As the teacher, I wasn’t doing anything—I was wandering past eavesdropping.'
Anything that facilitates that kind of visible learning and conversations: bring it on!
Tui had a similar experience: ‘One of the things I have noticed is a lot of my reluctant writers really struggle with ideas. If they don’t have a lot of life experiences they can’t just pluck an idea out. But these Creativity Cards are so good for ideas because it gives them a starting point—they’re not trying to choose something from nothing. I just love that it makes writing more accessible for them. The cards gave them a starting point and an idea really. There was a really comprehensive range of images to choose from. What I particularly liked was the expert cards in the Sentence Style Pack – these gave that extra challenge for students.’
Jane concludes with a challenge felt by many teachers: ‘When I think of the hours I’ve spent creating resources: we’ve all done it. A lot of primary school teachers in particular—we’re really good at reinventing wheels—you’re sitting there spending hours and hours and hours of your time, days and weeks, making resources. But the Creativity Cards and Sentence Style Packs are absolutely spot on—they’re especially good for a group project because the students have to negotiate between each other and this process is giving them ideas that they might not have necessarily had.
Of course, as a teacher, one of my initial questions was: hang on, what if they don’t know that sentence style? But no, it’s on the cards. And, the explanations and examples suited the age group. Plus, you didn’t have to make them yourself!’
|Teacher||Jane Edington and Tui Bennett, Literacy Leader's, Northcross Intermediate|
|Objective||Facilitating classroom conversations|
|Key Impact||Encouraging student's creativity|