Sunday, 13 May 2012

Rainforest survey, videos & bottletop art - fast, furious and fun!

Rainforest Animal Savers Team Action Plan
Progress has been fast and furious this week - needs must as we have sports day, class assembly and assessment week ahead - all of which will impact on time available for our rainforest projects.  So yes, fast, furious, always, always fun!

So this week children have discussing and mindmapping ideas for their projects.  After looking around a bit, I found iMindmap.  It's a great little app - the basic version is free though I decided it was worth the £9.99 so that we could, among other things, export the team maps.

Project Action Videos
The mindmaps provided the structure for children's team videos.  Children have had LOTS OF FUN and especially this week with their videos.  Very creative ideas from a planet saving character called Eco Boy (complete with eco costume!) battling a character called Polluto, to an Eco News Desk, jingles and animations - and that was from just one of the teams!
Our rainforest survey on Google forms

Taiwan, El Salvador & a Rainforest Survey with Google Forms!
We've also been exploring Google forms.  Over the last ten days or so, I've heard from Amy, a teacher in Taiwan, about a possible opportunity for our classes to connect.  Amy's school closes for the summer at the end of May, so with the end of the month fast approaching, we have been trying to remove the filtering  obstacles and find a time for our classes to virtually meet! I'm hopeful this will be possible and we're likely to use Google hangout.  But in the meantime, my class & I thought we'd put together a rainforest questionnaire.  Although Amy's class hasn't yet completed the survey,  through the GCT network, Jennifer from El Salvador kindly responded and we now have some survey results from a school in a country with rainforests.  My class are absolutely THRILLED and I hope that this will help children gain a real insight into the local impact of deforestation.   If you're reading this and have a class in a rainforest region, we'd love it if you'd take our survey also! 

Writing to influencers
Pupils have made a good start on their letter writing and I'll update here as these go out & the replies start to come back.  We received a postcard from Survival International this week thanking the children for their work on behalf of the Penan tribe of Borneo.  One rainforest team (the Rainforest Tribe Kidz) have chosen tribes as the focus for their project.  There's a real buzz in class about our projects - and there's an extra boost whenever we connect with others from beyond our classroom walls!

It's also helping us to put all these places on the map!  Children began a rainforest map a couple of months ago.  They've posted information they found using their rainforest cryptonyms.  From the start of Year 4, every pupil in class is known online by their rainforest cryptonym (like Leaf Cutter Ant or Poison Dart Frog)  and we use these at times when we're online eg. when we're map making or using Voicethread.  We've haven't visited in a little while but do take a look if you have a moment!  

So...what's next?
Counting bottletops
So...what's next?  It's assessment week in school so this will affect how much we can do on our projects this week.  I'm still hoping to run a session in class on Google search. I'd also like children to use forms to gather some more information relating to their action projects. 
Creating bottletop designs
We've also collected a mini-mountain of plastic bottle tops with help from the school community.   Luke Perry, an absoluely FANTASTIC artist who has worked with us on two amazing local history/art projects, will be helping us to create a piece of rainforest inspired bottle top artwork for our playground.  Children were busily creating their designs on Friday!


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