The grade 5 class at SIS Winterthur carried out a crosscurricular writing project using the augmented reality app augmelity. The app can be used to add digital features to worksheets, posters and more and was introduced to interested teachers at an SIS Professional Development Day. The aim of the writing project was for students to develop a personalized message they found important for the inhabitants of their city to hear. The embedded learning goals came directly from the SIS Writing and IT Curricula.
The class began by brainstorming messages that might be important for other people to hear. Ideas ranged from being less wasteful when consuming animal products to motivating children to be excited about going to school. Once a final idea was chosen, the outlining and drafting of their messages began.
The SIS Writing Curriculum ensures that students master various types of writing. For this project, not one but two types of writing were required: narrative and persuasive. The goal was for students to persuade others to agree with their message while using a narrative format. For example, Shayna told a story from her childhood involving a stray dog to help get her message across. Here she explains her message.
“I wrote about why we should help stray dogs. I chose this topic because my favourite animal is a dog and I feel really bad to just see them on the street alone. One of my reasons is that stray dogs do not have hygienic food and water. I met a few stray puppies and I helped them. They were so happy! That's why I would like to keep helping dogs when I get the chance.”
Kyle’s message was related to the current coronavirus pandemic. He describes it here.
“My text was about why masks are important to wear – to convince others to wear masks. You are safer around people with masks during Corona. It is good for other people and for yourself.”
It was challenging to combine the two types of writing. Shayna felt that “it was a bit different for us to write a narrative and persuasive writing assignment together. We had to tell a story that was about somebody, while also convincing you of something. It improved our writing!”
After the drafts were completed, the revising process began. This included self-editing as well as feedback from the students’ teacher, Frau Schmid. The next step involved digital technology skills, one of the components of the SIS IT Curriculum: to record the messages. The students recorded themselves reading their messages aloud. The audio files were then saved.
Next, students were asked to draw blimps and illustrate them with a unique design and motto. Shayna describes a blimp as being “filled with helium, flies through the sky with a big message on it”. Once the illustrations were completed, the final project component could be carried out.
The augmelity app enabled the class to link, by scanning with a tablet, the blimp illustrations to their audio files. Kyle explains that “we learned how to scan a picture using the app. We learned how to put the picture and text together.” The class then displayed their blimp illustrations on the windows and tested out the results of their project. The feeling was a positive one. Kyle tells how he “enjoyed listening to others’ stories. It was something quite new to test out!”
The final IT curricular component involved communication in the digital world. The audio files were saved in the augmelity app and are available to anyone who scans the blimp illustrations. Ultimately, this IT integrated project provided students with an exciting new way to think about their writing as the world becomes progressively more digitalized.
Article by Philippa Lieber, Principal