Recently a teacher contacted us asking if we had any suggestions for supporting children working on a project on space. I thought this was a really great activity and I enjoyed putting together resources on the topic. Here are some ideas that might be helpful for others.
I’ve selected a range of activities for preparing children with ideas for their writing, followed by options for supporting them during the writing process.
Matching Sets – match the planets
You can reinforce new knowledge on the properties of the different planets and the sun with a Matching Set. In this example I’ve used images from the CrickPix2 library and made sure to display the name of the planet alongside its image. The target is set to ‘Sound’ and when clicked, the speaker button will give information such as “This planet is nearest the sun. It was named after the Roman messenger god.” You can adjust the difficulty of this task easily by increasing or decreasing the number of options offered for each clue and adapting the clues.
Custom Set – describe the planets
To help children develop their retrieval of the new information they’ve learned about space, this task requires children to select appropriate vocabulary for describing different astrological bodies. To create this activity, I took one of our describe the characters Custom Sets from LearningGrids and changed the pictures and vocabulary offered. You could make this task more challenging by not providing vocabulary for children to choose from. They could then enter their own words by holding shift on the keyboard and clicking a cell to add the word. You could also make it a whole class activity, gathering ideas from the class and adding them to the resource.
Talk Set – Talk about the Solar System
This resource from LearningGrids encourages children to orally explain what they know about different bodies in our solar system. This could be used as part of a group task where each child in a group contributes a fact using one of the three recording icons available per image. Alternatively, children could work on this independently, adding three different facts into each icon.
Clicker Cloze activities are a great way of preparing children before a longer piece of writing. This activity provides a model text with key vocabulary removed, so children are exposed to the style of writing you expect them to produce and practice retrieval of new vocabulary. This example is created by taking some text from the internet and adapting it. You could also use a digital textbook or text from a worksheet so long as it can be copied and pasted.
Clicker Board and Word Banks
You could use a Clicker Board in the planning stages of the project to help children plan and organize the information they want to include in their project. You might prepare for the project as a class first and gather ideas and vocabulary together in this way. Once you have gathered the vocabulary and phrases that will be useful for writing on the topic, you can turn the Clicker Board into a Word Bank. All the images and any colors used in the Clicker Board will be preserved in the Word Bank to aid retrieval and organization. Children could then write up their project in the word processor using the support tools available there. It could then be transferred into a Clicker Book as a completed piece of writing with audio or video recordings alongside it.
Find Out and Write About Space
Our Find Out and Write About resources help children develop independent research skills. There are pages of information within the resource with a built-in talking glossary for key vocabulary. Children are also provided with writing support throughout. On any page children can click the ‘Write’ icon and access the word processor to write up what they’ve learned with the support of a writing grid. I edited one of our Find Out and Write About resources on the topic of tropical rainforests so that all the information and writing support are on the topic of space.
You could also provide a Clicker Book to support children with their project. You could create one with lots of information to use while researching the topic. Alternatively, you could create a ‘Make-A-Book’ activity to help children to write up their discoveries. You can provide a Picture Bank with images to prompt writing on different topics within the subject and Word Banks to provide sentence starters and key vocabulary.
Although these examples are for a specific assignment, you can easily apply the same methods to any research activity with Clicker 8.
If you have a particular topic or lesson idea that you would like some help with, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.