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Improving oral language and writing with Photostory

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Duration: 2:49

Irongate School teacher, Marion Croad, describes the improvements in her New Entrant students' written and oral language as a result of using Photostory. The majority of the students are Māori and Pacific Islanders with English as a second language. Using a tuakana-teina approach students worked alongside a Year 5/6 buddy who supported them with their learning. She found the students' oral language improved - both enunciation and sentence structure. Using the storyboard to plan their story sequence led to a development in the number of sentences written.

This term my New Entrant class has been working on Photostory. The aim for my New Entrant children was to help, or to help their oral language and also to develop their literacy, their writing skills. When we started recording their oral stories with their, with their buddies, they, as they listened to themselves they could hear what they actually had to do to improve themselves they were talking, with their big buddy initially, and then later on as they, two of my own children were working together, they could actually critique their own work and they would say, “Oh, you know that’s not clear enough,” or “Oh, there’s a big space. I need to go back and try it again,” and sometimes “It’s not loud enough. I can’t hear it.” So there were a lot of things that they were actually doing by themselves at the end of the process.

I noticed, particularly with some of my children that had quite limited oral language, it was a great help, a great motivator for them to be practising their, their, to speak in a whole sentence for some of them because often it would be two or three words. So they could actually use a whole sentence. It became much smoother for the, the, just the whole sentence. Was it grammatically correct for them? And even for one little boy who had difficulty with enunciation of the words, he would actually speak and say the words much clearer. Initially, the first time he did it, I think he heard himself for the first time saying the, you know missing out S’s and you know the beginning sound or the end sound of some of the words. So today when he was doing it you could hear him making sure that he had a lot of those sounds in his, in, in his words as he was saying them correctly.

It’s been a huge motivator um to, to write three sentences in their stories was just a huge jump because I’d been getting many just single sentence stories and I knew they were capable of far more and this just got them. It just came naturally to them because they had a sequence. They did their sequence. It was all there and, “Oh, look at my story.” They were so proud of themselves and then also when they had finished and replayed the whole sequence the, just the sheer look of delight, “Look at what I’ve achieved!” It was just great.  

Tags: English, Primary, Literacy, Writing, Oral language, Photostory, Pasifika, Digital stories, Māori, MASAM


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