English Interactive Case Study
17th November 2010
Gors Community Primary School is situated in the northern outskirts of Swansea. The school caters for pupils aged from three to eleven who are taught through the medium of English with Welsh taught as a second language. About 30% of the school population has English as a second language and these pupils come from a variety of backgrounds encompassing fifteen languages, resulting in a diverse, stimulating and rewarding school community.
The spelling section with its phonics programme has been used very successfully in KS1, for which it was specifically written. However, it has also been used to reinforce aspects of spelling in lower KS2 and also with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and English as an Additional Language (EAL) children. The programme has allowed the teacher to make a natural progression from the visual patterns and spelling of familiar words at level 1 to the more complex level 5 work of visual patterns of irregular spellings and the correct spelling of words with inflectional suffixes, which require doubling or vowel deletion more suited to the able and talented pupils.
Teachers have used the Activity Generator as a class, paired and individual exercise which can be differentiated to suit all abilities. The results have been used as part of assessment. Reinforcement of sounds covered is easily catered for by the worksheets, and these have been an excellent homework resource.
The programme has also been used by both SEN and EAL teachers. The children have benefitted from the visual and auditory aspects of the software, which has fostered the improvement of pronunciation and facilitated recognition of sound. Children worked individually to practise sounding out. EAL teachers have also been able to use the phonic programme to help assess the pupils when they first take up their places at Gors. This information can then be easily passed onto the class teacher who is able then to set up an Individual Education Plan with areas catered for within the software.
Forms of Writing
Each half-term, in KS2, a new form of writing is studied, practised and perfected throughout the curriculum. A baseline piece of writing is produced and then another, which is completed at the end of the topic studied for assessment. The software provides an opportunity for shared and guided reading, analysis of the text and a breakdown of the key features. The work is easily differentiated by adding as many of these as becomes necessary for the current level of learning. These are introduced to the pupils, discussed and used in their own writing. This is particularly relevant to SEN and EAL children.
The clear definitions and highlighted features have made it easier for the children to succeed at what, at first, is a daunting task. They now have a clear example to follow, a plan and a writing frame to develop their own ideas. As the formats of all the forms of writing are similar, the children have adapted and become more confident in producing their own individual independent writing. The frames have formed an important impetus in all writing styles. They have also been used freely in other areas of the curriculum.
The Fun Features in this section, particularly story writing, have been excellent resources for oracy. They can be organised into class, group or paired activities with children at the same or different linguistic ability. They are also successful when used by a teacher to model a pattern of working for the children to follow and develop.
The teaching and learning of poetry has become a pleasure when used alongside the excellent examples in the programme. Its simple but effective definitions and colourful screens give the pupil the necessary skills to write their own poems. Pupils have been able to research different forms of poetry, identify the key features and adapt this to their own writing. Class poetry books, verses for cards and poems for assemblies have been produced.
A key objective at KS2 is children’s grammatical awareness and ability to construct sentences and use punctuation in purposeful writing. The grammar section of the software lends itself ideally to ensure a comprehensive and systematic approach to support children’s development as writers.
I have used this section in a variety of ways: as an introduction to a single grammar topic; as a plenary; to teach common grammar weaknesses identified in independent writing and as a tool for assessment for learning. It can stand alone or be utilised to compliment other language work. When a section of work has been completed, I have used the Interactive Quiz to test degrees of understanding of the topic and knowledge gained. In most cases, children are able to peer-mark, thus allowing an opportunity to consolidate the work through question and answer and explanation. Here again the Printable Worksheets provide a convenient resource for class or homework to consolidate learning.
The Interactive Quizzes are used on a regular basis throughout the term to revise and reconfirm use of language rules. They also allow for the recording of scores which can be taken into account during assessment and report writing.
The Fun Features have been used as an independent activity on the computer during and after a lesson topic. This has been particularly useful for the SEN and EAL pupils who often struggle with the very simplest of tasks. The audio facility has allowed for total independence from the rest of the class.
The success of using the English software can be measured by the reaction and excitement of the children who have used it.
Daydream interactive software contains all the ingredients required to improve the delivery of all area elements in English lessons, i.e. Spelling, Grammar and Forms of Writing.