Hafod Primary School

Using Photostory to develop speech and language.

Hafod Primary School is situated in the Lower Swansea Valley, 1.5 miles from the City centre. There are currently 250 children in attendance, ranging from Flying Start to Year 6 in age.

The school had received funding from the Welsh Assembly Government through the RAISE (Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education in Wales) to target disadvantaged pupils and work to raise their levels of performance. The funding was made available to provide additional support in the classroom, to withdraw pupils from the classroom for activities focused on literacy, numeracy or other aspects of learning.

The project, co-ordinated by Mrs. Bernadette Hellier was put in place to raise the levels of attainment and confidence in both speaking and listening and writing with target groups of pupils who had been identified by the school using in house and national assessment procedures.

The school wanted to make sure that the target group had as much access to ICT equipment to do this as possible as some of the group did not have as much access to ICT equipment at home to help them with their learning.

The school followed the Pie Corbett approach to creative writing using the ‘Lazy Jack’ text to help the children with their story writing skills. The children undertook various strategies and activities to familiarise themselves with the story so that they had a framework to work from when innovating the story themselves to add their own amendments and changes to the text.

The children undertook the mapping out of the story as a story map using the interactive whiteboard and the Activ Studio software as part of a group to trace through the main events in the story. The children found using the interactive whiteboard to be both motivating and supporting in that if they made a mistake they were simply able to rub it out using the eraser tool and then carry on with their work. The school were able to record this by printing out the completed pages.

ICT was also used to keep a record of the process and activities that the children had undertaken as part of the RAISE project using digital cameras which the children used to take photos of actions for various words in the story or of the story practice itself.

The children undertook art work based on the story with the task of creating their own illustrations using a range of media to fit with certain parts of the story. These illustrations were then scanned in by the children with the support of a Learning Assistant and stored on the central school server.

The children then took these illustrations and placed them into Photostory using a bank of portable laptops which are connected to the school network. The children used the voice record option within Photostory to retell the story in their own words with the recorded voices linking to the corresponding picture. This resulted in an electronic book being created by the children with the retelling of the story linking to the created illustrations.

The children then took it in turns as part of a ‘celebration of stories’ week in the school to present their completed work to the school using a multimedia projector and retractable screen in the school hall in assembly time.

The children have improved their writing and speaking and listening skills as a result of undertaking the project which has been tracked using the schools assessment procedures. The children have enjoyed the process and have gained a lot in confidence from using the ICT to record their voices and to present their artwork to an audience which some would not have imagined they would be able to do before undertaking the project.

The social skills which the children have developed as working as part of a group have improved and has meant that their social interaction and collaborative skills have enabled them to discuss their work, make suggestions supportively and realise that their views are important.