Title: Quackser's Diary

Subject Area: English, Geography and Art

Topic: Cultural experiences of Irish and Australian students in a diary format

Age Group: 8/9 years

Expected Outcomes:

  • Children improve writing and recording skills through keeping a diary.
  • Children become aware of and appreciative of cultural differences and similarities.
  • Children learn to pose questions to seek clarification and to answer similar questions concisely.
  • Children become familiar with e-mail and acquire habit of checking same.
  • Children are exposed to the design issues involved in designing and producing a book.

Partners: St. Agnes School, Brisbane, Australia

Curriculum Relevance: These outcomes are relevant to the development of communication skills specified in the English curriculum, and to studies of different cultures in the Geography curriculum and to introduction to design in the Art curriculum.

Display: A poster illustrates this project. Booklet: The diary is published in book form called 'The Diary"

Prerequisite Learning: Students need to become familiar with e-mail.

Technology Resources: PC with modem; e-mail address specifically for the project participants.

Classroom Preparation: A rota to bring home the puppets was established. The diary was initially hand written in a notebook by each child in turn at home. Time was allocated to type up the diary in the classroom. The diary was saved to disk and copied and pasted to an e-mail on Friday. Replies from Australia were printed off by a student and read to the class by the teacher. The answers which would be given to questions, or any questions which arose were discussed. A student was chosen to reply to each e-mail and used the class discussion as the basis for her reply.

Group Leaders: Responsibility for checking e-mil and for forwarding the week's diary was rotated.

Work: Computer lab

Whole Class Involvement: The whole class were involved with less able children writing a diary page according to their own level of ability.

Recording: The information in this diary is an account of the child's own experiences for that day.

Content Structuring: The diary was hand written, edited and typed.

Presentation & Design: The book was illustrated by the students and bound as part of Art class.

Completion Date: The project ran for one school year - 1999-2000

Teacher Training: It was important to agree details with partner school at the outset. These details included: Minimum frequency of contact. Content of e-mails. Software to be used if attachments were included.

Evidence of Learning Objectives: E-mails of the edited diary were regularly sent to Brisbane. Clarification was sought from Australian children of such concepts as 'bush walking', why Chinese was on the curriculum and why students had seven weeks holidays at Christmas. The diary won a prize at the local 'Write a Book' competition.

Relevant to Curriculum Objectives: This formed part of oral, writing and reading strands of the English curriculum. It also met Geography and Art objectives. Teacher lessons: The children really looked forward to receiving an e-mail and were interested in its content. They discussed issues which arose and postulated answers. They eagerly awaited replies to their questions and some began to check out facts about Australia for themselves.

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Holy Family Senior School
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