Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Puzzling Artifacts

Yesterday I tried out something new in the quest to one day get podcasting up and running with my class. As part of our "The Way We Were" unit of work, I wanted my students to explore artifacts and make predictions of their use and functions from their observations. I wanted to see how this would work as a discussion forum recorded in Audacity.

These are the artifacts that I used. All kindly lent to me by Kym - another Year 1 teacher:

I covered the items before the class came back in from their recess break. When they came in I told them what we were going to do and divided them into panels of four. We ran one panel at a time with the rest of the class listening on as an audience.

My initial plan was that I would introduce the task on the recording and then hand the microphone over to the panel to do the talking. But as I found, this was a bit too high of an expectation given that this was the first time we had done the activity. I found that the panels needed more guidance as they talked through their ideas. I encouraged their thinking a little once they mentioned something relevant. I said things like "I like how Fred mentioned fire. Let's work a little more on that idea..."

I was impressed by how well the students did at working through their ideas. As you can see, not all of the artifacts are easy to identify! My next task is to edit the audio - as there were some silences while the children thought about things, and there were some reminders from me for the rest of the class to behave appropriately!

Now that I have a better idea of my role in the forum/panel, I would love to have another go and see where it takes us. Today one boy brought in an old iron - the sort you need to put in the fire to heat. I encouraged the class to share their ideas about what it could be, using the same technique. Maybe next week we will have another go at the same task, coming from a more experienced position.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what these artifacts are. Leave me a comment with your ideas...


  1. Fantastic way to keep in touch with all the great things that are happening in the class! Well done Penny.
    Bryn also loved looking through the photos and explaining to me what they were about.

  2. What a great way to communicate. Thanks Mrs Ryder!
    April doesn't talk much about what happened at school. She gets annoyed if we keep asking her. Last night, April saw your email and explained to us what happened when she was doing some paper work!
    Well done!
    Xiao and Ian


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