Mr Finlayson

Education and Technology

Posts Tagged ‘Visuwords’


Posted by alexfinlayson on June 11, 2009

As mentioned in a previous post we are lucky enough to have a room dedicated to the teaching of the Myst unit. There are 6 display boards in the room of which we are making good use.


One of the boards is for Myst Island, four others are for the Ages; Stoneship, Spaceship, Mechanic and Channelwood. The final board will be to display a printed version of our interactive Wiki story.

                    Myst Island                                               The Mechanical Age                                 The Spaceship Age


              The Channelwood Age


Myst – giant map, key words, Wordle doc, art, descriptionsWork6

Mechanical – large rotating map, compass points, art

Spaceship – Compass, poems, art key words

Channelwood – This one was interesting because the students decided they wanted to create word walls that looked like the trees in the Channelwood Age. They worked in pairs cutting out the trunks and decorating them to look like bark and then they compiled a list of descriptive words and phrases. This document was then copied into Wordle and the students played with the format until they had something they were happy with and believed fit with the Age.

The students then analysed these Wordle documents and pulled out the words they thought had to be in there, words they could remove and words they could replace with the use of a thesaurus and Visuwords.

The image on the right shows the least successful of these word walls – it is well done and well thought out but the spelling leaves a little to be desired and the choice of words is limited. This group got distracted by the imagery of Wordle and did not use it to thoroughly analyse their words as was the intention.

(NB: ‘Myst’ and ‘mist’ is something my guys have frequently confused and been corrected on – memory retention in this low-level group is certainly interesting)

 I love having displays of the students work up in my rooms – it really lets them feel a Wordle Channelwoodsense of achievement that something they have created is deemed good enough to end up on the wall. I often start the year with a very bland room and let the students work bring the colour and life.

Having the Myst Room has proven beneficial in the sense that all the work for Myst is contained in this one area and when the students enter that room they are surrounded it. This helps them to get into the correct mindset and to concentrate.

A negative aspect of having the Myst room is that for the majority of the day the students favourite work is tucked away in a dark room (and it really is proving to be the students favourite work)

A few close-ups

 Work4The good-old acrostic (not a fan but a good ext. act.)




The piece on the right is from my weakest student – I think this is great – the imagery he creates really fits with what he was trying to describe.

And of course, every boy in Grade 5 loves drawing spaceships – well this was drawn by a girl, at home. Her Mum ”aged’ it a brought it in to ‘see what all the fuss was about’


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Session Two

Posted by alexfinlayson on June 10, 2009

So yesterday we were on strike (bring on equal pay!) and the students had a day to themselves. I had asked on the Monday for my guys to create a diary entry of their first experience on Myst Island. I was expecting some good work from some areas and sadly a distinct lack of effort from others… what I was not expecting was the enthusiasm with which most of my guys took to this task. Many were waiting at the classroom door in the morning eager to show me their new-look journals.

Many of which had dramatically aged over the course of 24hours through the liberal use of fire, vinegar and tea-bags (and gods-of-risk-assessment-be-good; permission) which was great but some of the entries were simply astounding.

In fact, I was so impressed with some of their work that I’m going to set up another folder on the website with the express intention of displaying some scanned pages from their journals – a good way to celebrate their work I think!

Anyway, on with the lesson – enthusiasm was high again. In fact, the class were so excitable that I had to take them out of the Myst Room and back into the classroom to calm things down – once thoroughly prepped on appropriate mechbehaviour; we began again.

This time we jumped straight into the linking book and entered The Mechanical Age – we used the same process as before to describe what we could see but this time we addressed more senses – what could we hear? What could we smell? What could we taste?

We created another Wordle document for our display wall and then, because they had performed exceptionally well throughout the day (with a brief talking-to) we played the game for the last 10 minutes – using my prior knowledge (ah, walkthroughs) and the kids directions we found the blue and red pages (the goal of the game – apparently) and then argued well after the 3 o’clock bell about which one to take back with us.

 NB There are two books in the library on Myst Island – one red, one blue – inside each is a trapped brother begging for you to find more colour-coded pages to free them.

The students are currently split as to which brother they would prefer to be helping – one page was found in a room full of vicious weapons and evil-looking devices (scared some girls, thrilled some boys) and the other in a room in a room filled with luxurious items but also a note describing the incredible greed of the owner… The students are torn – greed or viciousness? For homework they are making their decision and backing it up… mech map

Numeracy/Geography LinkThe main puzzle in The Mechanical Age requires a knowledge of the compass points – we drew a complete compass in our Myst Journals and referred to it to help us solve the problem – a great extra that I did not envisage in planning – this proves the benefit to Tim Ryland’s notion of ‘leaving space in the plans for children to fill’ We left the day with homework to write another journal entry and to analyse the Wordle pictures (gave each student a print-out) with the question in mind’ ‘which words can be improved?’… Tomorrow we will use VisuWords to help us write better description…

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