This year my class has been collaborating with Bianca’s class of year 7 kids from Davidson High School. During term 1 and 2, @Beyond57, as they call themselves on Twitter, would pick the images for our 20/30/50 word challenges, read our responses and choose a ‘writer of the week’ to whom I would would give a book reward in order to encourage reading and writing.
In term 3 they collaborated with my class on a picture book project by choosing digital images for the stories we had written, embellishing the narratives in some cases and transforming our stories into awesome picture books using a variety of tools such as Word, Powerpoint and Storybird. We published these books by ordering softcover copies of those made in Storybird, or simply colour printing and binding the other ones at Officeworks.
The culmination of this year of learning together came last Thursday when my wife, along with her lovely class of year 7 students travelled by bus over to Merrylands to read the picture books to my class, watch our Minecraft movies, eat lunch and play games together. It was great.
We started the day by getting together in my classroom and listening to my students present their Minecraft projects to year 7. They did so well and I was so happy to see how confident these little K/1 kidz were presenting their work in front of a whole bunch of ‘scary’ big kids. I got all emotional and honestly almost teared up while I was watching them present, like a big wuss!
Students then got into groups and the Davo kids read the picture books to the MEPS kids. They planned short plays in which they reenacted the stories for the rest of the class in the MEPS ‘amphitheatre’! Some of my students’ parents had visited for the event and they were very happy to see their children read their stories and act out the narratives.
Following this we watched some stop motion animations that were made by @Beyond57, had some lunch together, and said goodbye. My students had such a wonderful time, they told me that they wished the older kids didn’t have to leave. Again, I almost teared up as they left. What an awesome way to end a cool year of PBL.