In May this year, students in prep to year 6 came to school dressed in costume as a favourite book character. As this coincided with the day when I had my year 3 and 4 class, I asked my online teaching colleague, Lin-lin from Taiwan if she and some of her students would like to watch the “student parade” virtually. There was a short window of time as Lin-lin’s school finished 20 minutes after my after-lunchtime class began. The students had an amazing array of dress and characters!
A skype call went through, the video quality was good, my 26 students lined up, walked up to the camera one at a time and introduced themselves with their Chinese name and then their English name. They then asked the Taiwanese class to guess what book character they were. We had fun!
Our Chinese teacher aide, Jing who is with us this year from Beijing, helping with our mandarin Chinese program, was also in the class. At the end of the share ‘n tell, Jing was introduced and spoke to the Taiwanese class in Chinese.
Students of that age love an audience to show off to and share with – and what a fabulous virtual audience we had. Some of what my students learned!
- the necessity to speak clearly
- position themselves to the laptop camera so that their costume could be seen
- actually see what Taiwanese people look like (remember my students are geographically and culturally isolated)
- a genuine use for the Australian students to share their Chinese name as the Taiwanese class speak mandarin Chinese
- how the Chinese language really sounds when fluent speakers converse (ie when Jing and Lin-lin conversed in Chinese over skype. There is something magical about hearing this language at normal speed and intonations.
And from Lin-lin:-
They did a wonderful job!!! My kids were very happy and kept to listening to their introduction. This form of interaction helps my kids to know reading could be a lot of fun !
Making it better next time-
- Students bring the actual book with them if they can
- Discuss who in each class has read the book
- Discuss what they enjoyed about the book and why
- Share favourite books
- Online survey re reading
- Explore whether this does encourage other students to read some of the books represented by the student book characters
Thank you Lin-lin to you and your class for being such a great audience.