Every now and then you come across a resource that makes you go “Wow! How useful is this?” Thanks to one of my teacher colleagues, I have had the chance to explore one such website. The Literacy Shed,created by UK teacher Rob Smith, is a fantastic resource for Literacy teachers looking for short video clips to support their teaching.
The site is organised into 24 different ‘sheds”, each providing a selection of quality visual texts (mainly 3D animations) accompanied by very useful teaching notes outlining how you can use the clips in exploring themes, characterisation, narrative, plot, mood, use of audio, body language, inferences,deductions, predictions – the notes cover just about everything. It’s equally useful for reading comprehension and writing development. The use of the resources also go beyond just Literacy. Many of the resources are also useful for Humanities subjects as well and Smith points these links out in detail. What I especially enjoy is the number of foreign animations that expose students particularly in USA and Australia, my home, to different cultural and creative perspectives beyond Hollywood story telling.
In the table below, I’ve shared the different areas (sheds) of the site. As you can see, a large number of story genres are provided. Following the table I’ve provided an example of teaching notes that accompany a video clip.
|The Fantasy Shed||The Other Cultures Shed||The Ghostly Shed||The Inspiration Shed||The Moral Shed||The Picture Book Shed|
|The Great Animations Shed||The Love Shed||The Fairy Tale Shed||The Inventor’s Shed||The Reading Shed||The Poetry Shed|
|The Adventure Shed||The Mystery Shed||The Film Trailers Shed||The Fun Shed||The Lighthouse Shed||The Flying Books Shed|
|The Resource Shed||The Blog Shed||The Non Literacy Shed||The Weblinks Shed||The Literacy Shed Home||Contact Us|
Teaching Ideas (based on the animation Alma – a chilling Doll story
Let the children listen to the soundtrack of the film, turn off IWB, can they guess what kind of film this is? Thriller etc? What moods? There is quite a lot of suspense etc.
Children could predict what happens at certain points e.g. what will happen when she goes into the shop?
Children could ask questions at specific points e.g. Why is the town empty? Why does the doll just look like her? Where is the shopkeeper? What does he do with the dolls?
The children could write a sequel to this film perhaps changing parts of it.
Can the children draw/describe what they think the owner of the shop looks like? Maybe produce a wanted poster.
Here is some fabulous work create by the Year 6 class at Greenfields Primary School.
These are tremendous stories with some very sophisticated plots and sentence structures
Children are becoming more and more tuned into visual texts in an increasingly multimodal media-rich world. Storytelling for children today is more about movies, animations and interactive digital books. Just providing the written text alienates a large proportion of your class. The Literacy Shed provides a wealth of resources that will engage students and the teaching ideas shared on the site will develop a range of high calibre literacy skills. I recommend this site to all teachers ( mainly aimed at Primary/Elementary schools but still relevant for older children in Middle School) who are looking to use more visual texts in their lessons.