#observation

1 02 2013

A special treat for technowellies readers today, a blog about ….. Wellies! Or rather the drawing of them. Many of you will have fathomed that our current topic is ‘weather’. For art, i decided to utilise my stash of outgrown wellies for a still life lesson. Grouping the wellies in threes of varying patterns, sizes and colours, the children set to work using pencil, pen or pastel. Their target for the lesson was to use line to create an accurate picture of the wellington boots.

All was going well for the first twenty minutes, until one bright spark ( and he is a bright spark) asked another child why they were drawing boots. The other child replied that it was because of our weather topic and that boots were useful in rain. A second child piped in and said it was because Mrs Lydon must have lots of wellies so it was an easy thing for her to get together. My bright spark was having none of these answers though, and posed the question, “but why do we have to draw anything at all?” At this point I realised two things. Firstly ‘sparky’ was not enjoying the task as much as I was and secondly my target was not appropriate. Why had I decided to ask the children to sketch wellies? What was the point of using one hour of our precious learning time?

I stepped in at this point and joined the discussion. I talked about the need for close observation in other walks of life, how they were recording the weather by observing closely what they could see, not what they thought they could see…how they were editing their stories using close observation, trying to read what they had written and not what they thought they had written…. how they checked their maths by looking carefully at their actual answers, not what they thought they had answered.

Luckily this seemed to satisfy the children, who resettled, refocused and closely observed what they really saw, and not what they thought they could see. And as for the results, well, you can see for yourself….

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the welly walk

16 12 2008

img_5434To observe objects in more detail I was keen to use our newest microscope- the easiscope from TTS. At £30 it is amazing and again just right for little children with big questions. We plugged it into the computer and allowed pair to bring some of their finds up to look. All the children found the easiscope simple to use, although some needed initial help to move it slowly enough so it would focus on their leaf. I hoped the children would explore the properties of their finds, use descriptive language and compare and contrast their specimens. For some this was true. Did the children extend their observation skills?…Yes. They were very keen and excited to point things out, lots of children looking carefully and describing their leaf as “Cool”! Was language extended and enriched?… Yes, but only once I had an adult working there who could point things out and make suggestions and ask questions to extend their observations. Otherwise words such as “Cool” and “look” were the most used.

 

Other follow on activities helped to extend and enrich vocabulary and observations. The chatterboxes allowed everyone to record information about their numbered find so others could easily identify a find on an exhibition table. Digital photographs were mounted onto talking postcards, explanations recorded and put with the exhibition. The ‘exhibition’ was very popular and served as a constant reminder of the walk.





so videos are taken

31 10 2008

Yes, we found some sunny days, some cameras and plenty of children all foraging for conkers and the like. Cameras were strapped onto wellies and put into pockets (blazercam!)  and off we set.

Not the roaring success I had hoped for, but some great photos, and a little video. Definately a need for further testing!