TaNuj^'s Weblog

Fun Mixed With Learning

Posted on: November 11, 2008

Who imagined that learning could be this fun ….

Over the last few weeks year 9 students at my current high-school have been working on a project so called “Write On, Write Now”(fabulous title, in my opinion). A project which has been created by the likes of amazing and enthuziastic teachers such as- Lucy, Dean , and few other new comers.  It was a project in which we(students) had an in-depth look at the aspect of reading and writing.

Walking to school I had many of my mates and teachers talking of this project. Which required students  to read George Orwell masterpiece- Animal Farm, and later go onto writing a book of their own consisting 8000 words – that to in ONE, SINGLE SCHOOL DAY!. At Hearing of such an extraordinary project, only thought that ran through my mind was- “gi harsh times lie ahead of Social Studies teachers”. It would have sound as a nightmare for some of the students… reading 2 chapters a day of Animal Farm, a book which consists of so many morals, and in-depth meaning. If that wasn’t enough, for students to rock up to school on one particular day and be asked to write a book, right from the scratch. Never had such a project been carried out, especially with teachers having such high expectations. 

Teachers at our school are really starting to blossom as 21 century tutors. A major part of being such a group of talented teachers, undertaking PBL( problem/project based learning) for first time in entire Australia, is that they to are learning alongside students. But they also realise, and look at the projects from the perspective of students. In doing so, they were able to make out releasing all of the project at the same time would send many of the students into panic, and in some cases lose the enthusiasm of students. In order to prevent such negative things to happen, teachers released project bit by bit.

First phase of the project asked students to read this marvelous book Animal Farm . Alongside students had to communicate and answer questions about the book via sharing google documents. None of the students knew who their teacher was, but they knew that they had to work hard towards achieving 30 marks, which were set upon this section. Here is an example of a student communicating with his/her teacher – Napoleon…google docs..

In order for students to understand various message that Orwell was trying to get across to the audience. Many of the students analyzed chapter by chapter, using various techniques such as- mindmaping.

After a week of vigorous reading, did our class finally manage to finish this book which left us with a thought  that ” Power put into wrong hands can create a work of a devil”. Throughout the book we not only learnt about the abuse of power, but also the way Russian Revolution that took place many years ago . I for one was quite fascinated with the way Orwell depicted his message through the use of animal characters. 

Soon it was the time for 2nd phase of our project. This portion, consisted us (students) to further develop our creativity, and make use of descriptive language (similes, metaphors, and personification…). I was quite amazed (in a happy way) to see such content be involved in our project. To be particularly honest throughout this extravagant year that PBL- Social Studies have had, still not a lot of literacy techniques have been taught (something for teachers to think about). Anyhow as the days went on Lucy and Sac spent many hours with the class- giving them their advice on writing, and at times holding tutorials as a class. Special mention to Lucy who devoted ENORMOUS amount of time to this project, just in-order for each of her students to become life long learners who leave her classroom with heaps and heaps of knowledge and understanding.

Leading up to our writing day was a tutorial held with a well known author Bernard Cohen. With him students learnt and developed many writing skills, being an author we got given first hand advice for minor things to look out for in our writing.

Anyhow after receiving many tutorials, the judgement day had arrived. Students knew of nothing, except that they will have to plan and write a book on their chosen topic, for me it was – T*H*U*N*D*E*R*S*T*O*R*M: A Collection of Short Stories on the Use and Abuse of Power. This project not only taught students variety of literacy skills, but also skills which would be needed at the workplace, example- planning, and time management. Here are few examples of marvelous work done in a single school day…The Blood line, Dream on President, Geriant Quest for Freedom

So in conclusion, what a project we have had?. Never had I even imagined of doing something like this, many thanks to the Social Studies staff, Lucy, and Dean for their contribution. As I have mentioned many times, fair enough students made a book, but none of it could have had been possible without English Loving Teachers we have at our school.  It has been a great journey and a terrific experience. Now I look forward to the Projects that lie ahead. As Boxer once said’ “I will work harder”.

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10 Responses to "Fun Mixed With Learning"

Wow, it had to happen. Congrats on such a fantastic student post! Its so good to see you growing as a writer and communicator! I will share this! – Thanks for the track-back.

[…] Strikes Back Posted on November 11, 2008 by dskmag Wow, this was fantastic to read. One of the students at my old school. He’s been lurking around blogging for a few […]

Fantastic that you took the time to provide feedback for your teachers! You’ve learned much more than Social Studies and English through this project! You clearly learned that your teachers’ hard work and innovation deserved recognition too! I’ll link to this post in the near future as I blog about the benefits of student-centered teaching. You post is a sound evidence of positive student outcomes. You deserve credit here. Now…I want to read your 8,000 word book!

lol good work tanuj 😛

Wow! I am blown away by the work your class produced for this project. It’s fantastic! Well done. As an extra bonus this entry shows just how powerful student-centred learning can be 🙂

This line struck me “Never had I even imagined of doing something like this, …”

I wonder what else “we” might not imagine we can do?

thankyou so much for all your feedbacks…thnx

Well done Tanuj. This blog post of yours really shows you reflecting on the both what you learned and how you learned. Your writing skills have developed and you are providing insights into our teaching that would usually go unheard. I appreciate your commitment and dedication. Thank you!

[…] Fun Mixed With Learning « TaNuj^’s Weblog […]

[…] to construct meaning through reflection and sharing their learning with an authentic audience. TaNuj^’s Weblog is an excellent example of a student reflection. It is also for teachers as can be seen by […]

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