American International School, Chennai, India ~ Day 4

| February 25, 2013 | 4 Comments 

Our fourth day at The American International School, Chennai, in South East India. And, what a fun, full on day!

Over this week, we have been looking at a huge amount of technology, but also a focus on thinking about teaching elements that could run alongside some simple uses of tech in the classroom. The chance to work alongside some students, and experience some of the analog aspects of “picking up words, and juggling them”.

Learning a language is just the start. Finding ways to enable playing with that language is something AIS Chennai are already doing some great work with. Today, we started, alongside the Library, and World Language, colleagues from the school, and investigating which aspects, of digital, and not-so-digital, learning opportunities can have the biggest impact on language acquisition, playfulness, and confidence.

Then, with the Grade 6 (Y7) students and their teachers explored steaming, humid, worlds that were full of scurrying wildlife and magnificent sights.

One of the joys, of using virtual worlds, is that they can be useful in modelling a vast amount of things, beyond writing. The elements of shared discussion, problem solving, knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do, speaking and listening skills, creativity in thought and imagination, … and so much more… take flight. The AIS students did incredibly well, picking up ideas, then making remarkable verbal, and written, creations out of them.

“This might not have felt real when we came in, but, very quickly it became SO real, I believed I could smell it”.

Next the Grade 2 (Y3) students and their teachers. The almost tactile, living, breathing, scented experience of these games, serve to generate enthusiastic discussion between the children, which, almost magically, and inevitably, helps to generate imaginative ideas and storylines for independent writing.

Because children do not want these experiences disturbed,  they can support some really extended activities, such as role play, interviewing and questioning.

Seventy (Yes. Seventy!) Grade 7 students, and their teachers, joined us for a few challenges. It takes a bit of courage to let go, play with words, in front of your class mates, in an unusual setting, with somebody you have never met before. There were, though, some truly superb pieces of descriptive narrative, dropped, stream-like, in a free~for~all read, of what we managed to achieve, in the short amount of time we had had to write. I utterly respected some of the mature (and respectful) responses, when we had to “bite the bullet” a bit, and “Go for it”. All of our fellow explorers, in whatever language they shared ideas in, – from Korean, French, German, Hindi, Bengali, English, and others – showed some speedily increasing readiness to “take off and fly. Oh for more time… : – )


The contribution of talk, visual stimuli and drama to generate ideas for writing, also build experiences for children to explore together. Peer encouragement. Shared learning journeys. And, “Being up for a challenge”! Well done all.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (4)

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  1. Kay Clarke says:

    “Have the courage and the faith to share your ideas without worrying what others might think of them.”

    Yes, well here’s my two cents! I cannot wait for our first graders to explore worlds with Tim tomorrow. Since learning from him on Friday, many of his ideas are seeping into our planning for writing in the next few weeks. I know the kids will be eager to ink their thinking, and it will be terrific to see their excitement sparked.

    Counting down the hours…..

  2. Deepa Jacob says:

    Enjoyed the session with 2nd grade. The happy hum of busy minds was addictive. You were able to engage all the students. The shy ones, the troublesome ones… All of them were fully focused on what you had to say! I will be using some of your classroom management strategies with my kids. I guess I need to go out and buy me a Mr.Walker too!

  3. Tim says:

    Thank you Deepa, for your insight. We are so glad you found it useful
    Please keep in touch and let us know what you try first, and how it goes

  4. Tim says:

    What lovely feedback Kay
    We are REALLY looking forward to two session with the first graders too – A lot of exploring awaits 😀

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