“1. The word text is used in this document in its broadest sense, as a means of communication that uses words, graphics, sounds, and/or images, in print, oral, visual, or electronic form, to present information and ideas to an audience.” page 4 of our Language Curriculum document.
This statement has been a guiding principle for me in the way I instruct literacy. I believe students of all ages need to be taught using a rich variety of texts. During planning times with colleagues I seek out multiple types of texts and combine them to make a rich learning experience for our students. I use www.discoveryeducation.ca/ as a site to download short clips that support our shared reading lessons and our read alouds. I also work with my colleagues to show them how to embed and work with multiple types of texts.
I have the belief that like students, adults work best while supported through modelled, shared and guided experiences. One shot professional development sessions can launch ideas but sometimes mentoring is the best way to sustain change. During the past two years I worked with a team of teachers from grade 2 to grade 4. Together we planned each week and created lessons that would be suitable for our learners. I used Discovery Streaming and found clips that would support the printed texts we were using. Students were highly engaged but we discovered that students’ understanding of the topic greatly increased when we used sound clips or short video clips. For example, we used a narrative text about Maple Syrup and them embedded a short clip on the process of maple syrup. The clips on Discovery Education include some Reading Rainbow shows, but what is awesome about Discovery is the clips are broken into short portions to use as needed in the class. Twenty years ago I would have shown a full episode and now I can gather just the “A Trip to Vermont” Section. I showed the four minute clip several times over the course of the week to help develop an understanding of the process of maple syrup making. This informational text supports the students’ understanding so when they reread the narrative text about Maple Syrup then they can visualize the process explained in the story. I helped members of our team connect with our board of education’s contact and secure licensing for teachers and for their students.
This year, I’m on a new team teaching Kindergarten. I modelled the use of embedding streamed video to support our shared reading texts. I demonstrated and shared files via DropBox. I created a team DropBox folder and each week I place texts that could be used. I believe that people need to see the purpose of a resource prior to jumping in and using a resource. I also sent all the contact information for securing licensing for the K team. All members of our team now have access and licensing for downloading their own clips to use in class. Each week, I co plan with one of my colleagues. We look at our assessment data, our long range plans and then create new shared reading texts that link with our read alouds and class focus. I worked with my colleague this term and created the SMARTNotebook files that contained our texts and showed her how to download video clips and embed them into the Notebook file. I am now in the point of guiding her and together we are downloading clips and working with the files to support our learners.
This is the poem my colleague wrote to support a Duct Tape Challenge that we were conducting in our classroom. Here is a clip about Gorilla Tape that supports the text.
Here is a shared reading pattern text written about celebrations.
The brief video clip explains different traditions but it also provided a context for the new vocabulary our students were learning.
I also use Discovery clips to support inquiry in our Full Day Kindergarten program. I have another teacher who supports our classroom for Science once a week. I have modelled how I use the video clips to support learning in the inquiry model in our classroom. I’ve sent her links and she is now exploring the Discovery Education streaming on her own working to support inquiry learning with our students, not only in our classroom but within classrooms throughout the school.
Discovery Education has a vast amount of clips for use in all grade levels. I’m curious, do you use this resource? If so how do you use it within the context of your educational setting?