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i-learn Writing Yrs 3&4; Years 3&6

Pie Corbett
Publisher - Cambridge-Hitachi
Price at time of review - £495.00

I specifically explored the i-learn Writing Years 5 and 6 DVD-ROM, an interactive whiteboard resource that offers a series of scaffolding activities for developing non-fiction writing skills. It is very user-friendly and the teachers’ notes section offers detailed suggestions and clear advice. I was particularly pleased to find that the suggested independent and group activities were varied, open-ended and rarely worksheet- based.  At first glance, there seems an awful lot of material to wade through but this is a good thing. Writing is difficult and this DVD –ROM reflects this; there are no magical shortcuts – good writing takes time and effort.  For each text type, there are sections on reading as a writer, talk for writing, editing and publishing. In this way, it mirrors the sequence of strands in the New Primary Framework for Literacy and actively promotes the process approach to teaching writing.  Writing does not exist in a vacuum and this resource takes every opportunity to set writing in a context and make explicit the links between the different modes of literacy – speaking and listening, reading. 

This DVD draws attention to the specific linguistic features of different non-fiction texts in coherent, multimodal units of work; however, at times it seems a little too systematic and could be more imaginative. For example, the video clips of author interviews and the authors tips lack the creative spark and authenticity of say a real clip of a Michael Rosen exploring his craft! A bit too clinical for me, I’m afraid.  For Year 5 and year 6 children, the animations are also rather babyish and to be very specific, the objectives section features a goal scoring animation accompanied by loud cheering which can quickly become incredibly annoying! But does this software have the potential to improve a child’s ability to articulate thoughts, ideas and responses in writing? Used flexibly by teachers and supplemented by other ideas, I do believe so! In short, it is expensive but nevertheless I would recommend it as a valuable resource for any year 5 and 6 classroom.

Buy now via the NATE Amazon link

Jospehine Brady, 23/06/2009


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