In January I scanned some of the projects on Skype in the Classroom and I found Teaching Principal Jasmine Shannon from Tipperary Station School in the Northern Territory, who wanted to do something based on the children’s book Photographs in the Mud and Anzac Day. We communicated, and after some quick negotiation and suggestions, we decided that my Year 9 History class would write some children’s stories based on World War One for her class of kindergarten children. Here is Jasmine’s blogpost about our project.
My students worked in teams of three, drafting and redrafting their stories. They were advised about writing for young children by our Prep School librarian Margo Pickworth and they critiqued each other’s work to improve their stories.
I then sent Jasmine the eight stories and her students drew beautiful pictures to illustrate the stories. My colleague, Paul Harrington, helped me produce this e-book.
My students were quite obsessive about wanting to produce “something good” for the Tipperary Station kids. Many of them commented on the project in their end-of-term reflections:
“I really enjoyed the short stories for the children in the Northern Territory” (James)
“We wouldn’t get to write children’s stories for the Tipperary School in any other class” (Nick)
“Our children’s stories are being illustrated by a remote school of kindergarteners, which is certainly not something that happens in other classes” (Karsten)
“I liked writing the children’s stories for the kindergarten kids in the country” (Taylor)
“The children’s story was good because it made us really think hard about the task” (Scott)
“The integration with another school in a remote part of Australia was insightful and helpful” (Charlie)
The project was a great reminder of the importance of multiple drafts and critique, and the value of an authentic audience. We hope to continue our connection with Tipperary Station School.