As schools across the international community switch to Remote Learning platforms, educators are embracing the challenge of moving entire learning communities online: this includes online lessons, extra-curricular activities, physical and health education, and more.
As we integrate community connection into our online learning environment, teachers at Halcyon have also found the need to ensure our students remain connected to the world around them. Here’s how our English Team gave Grade 7 students an engaging taster of their poetry unit through bringing global political events into the virtual classroom - and how educational technology can make these learning experiences interactive, challenging, and enjoyable.
Exploring ‘The Hill We Climb’ together
“Do you know who this is, and why she’s important?” prompted the first presentation slide of Grade 7’s lesson, screenshared by their teacher on Google Meet. The slide included an embedded video of Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’, recited at the US President’s inauguration in January and received with impact across the world.
Students watched the poem at the same time together in their remote class, and then discussed the young poet laureate’s intentions: the message she wanted to convey to her audience. Grade 7 were able to then identify the literary devices used by Gorman to “envision a way in which the country can come together and heal” - these techniques included alliteration, couplets, and assonance, to name a few. They then added examples to a Padlet - a collaborative digital notebook - in order to learn from one another and deepen their understanding of poetry.
This interactive learning experience enhanced students’ sense of the personal and political implications present in poetry. They were then able to channel these understandings into the creative task of drafting their own poems inspired by the ways in which they relate to the world around them. To deliver a complete IB education online, we can bring real-world events into the virtual classroom.
Integrating student-centred educational technologies into learning
As well as working together on the collaborative Padlet, students were able to refresh their knowledge on literary devices through a Quizlet which contained flashcards and vocabulary lists on the theme of poetic techniques. This digital tool encourages students to take ownership of their learning through offering learners a variety of different revision methods: some students, for example, prefer to take the ‘quiz’ option, whereas some find it helpful to complete an activity where they match the definition to the term.
This session provided students with an exciting taster for their poetry unit later in the year, and their work on literary devices such as metaphors, similes, and imagery will enrich their current unit on short stories. Our budding poets are encouraged to submit pieces on the theme of ‘Connections’ to the Council of British International School’s poetry competition.
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