The following resource collection focuses on creative writing/storytelling in English, with specific focus to Year eight studies. These resources need to be adaptable to a diverse group of learners with all manners of learning abilities as they are focused around the early years of high school where students are still learning what their preferred method of learning is. These resources can be divided into specific categories: multi-media, visual, and physical. Multi-media is important to incorporate as it reduces the barrier of physical access for students and also provides technologies such as augmented alternative communication (AAC) which cater to students with physical or intellectual disabilities. Online activities such as Interactive writing and Storium allows students to work at their own pace while still having support from their teacher. Visual sources such as Storybird and the Golden Kingdom story allow students who may have issues following along with a written task to visualise concepts in order to gain a better understanding of the topic. Visual sources are important as they do not allow students who may have trouble reading or keeping up to be left behind and allows them to still partake in class. This goes on to physical sources such as The Black Cat activity, which has students partake in a performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ whilst using their knowledge of setting, theme, and character to accurately portray the story. This source allows students to physically engage in the work and gain a better understanding of class concepts. Classroom diversity caters for physical impairments, learning disabilities, language barriers, and gifted learners, and therefore it is important for these sources be adaptable for students of all capabilities in order to make the classroom inclusive (Ashman, 2015).
|Item No.||Resource Title||Type||Main Purpose/
|Reference or source (indicating if it is a resource developed or adapted)|
|1.||The Golden Kingdom||Enabling Prompt||Allows students to visualise a creative story whilst learning the basic structure of a narrative. Students close their eyes as the teacher tells a story of a treasure hunter who:
This can also be visualised as a map of the story as it follows the structure of a narrative.
|Prac Observation from Mansfield State High School
|2.||Storybird||Online resource||-provides visual prompts for creative writing to spark students imaginations and help them visualise a story.||Storybird – Read, write, discover, and share the books you’ll always remember. (2019). Retrieved from https://storybird.com/
|3.||Interactive Writing||Online Activity||-a short game that asks students to match words to their respective genres in order to create a short story.||Story Writing Game for Kids – Fun Activity for Planning Stories. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.funenglishgames.com/writinggames/story.html
|-online resource that allows teachers to follow student progress and allows students to collaborate with creating a narrative piece.||StoriumEdu. (2019). Retrieved from https://storiumedu.com/
|5.||Augmentative and Alternative Communication||Adaptive Technology||-alternative technology that caters for students with disabilities in the classroom (i.e. audio note: creates a script of a recording in order for students to review it at their own pace).||Luminant Software, 2017
|6.||The Black Cat||Student Activity||-performance based activity that allows students to physically engage with the story whilst learning about character motives, setting, and themes.|| https://www.teachervision.com/reading/black-cat-annotated-readers-theatre
Justification and Evaluation:
According to Adrian Ashman, an inclusive classroom is defined by minimising the concept of special learning, due to each child having a diverse learning need which therefore requires teachers to create a learning environment that are adaptable as opposed to impacted by diversity (Ashman, 2015). Teachers need to be providing learning resources and activities that do not only cater for one type of learner, so a variety of resources that differ in their uses are important to have.
The main type of resource that are covered in the resource collection are multi-media and technology based. Multi-media resources are integral to learning in the 21st century, as students have to adapt to the ever-changing technology that encompasses the world (Rivera et al, 2013). Whilst the inclusion of technology is necessary in 21st century schooling, it is also an opportunity for diverse learners with specific needs to be engaged with the same coursework and activities as others in their class who may not share those specific needs. The inclusion of multi-media for special needs learners is outlined in the Disability Standards for Education (DSE), where it states that it is the teachers responsibility to ensure activities are inclusive so that students with disabilities are able to participate in the same coursework as their classmates in order to avoid discrimination based on disability (Department of Employment, Education & Training, 2005). The inclusion of multi-media activities within the classroom, such as those in the resource collection, are therefore integral in the establishing of an inclusive classroom. The resource Storium allows for teachers to set writing tasks for students to work on either individually or in groups, whilst being able to track their progression through the task. The resource Interactive writing allows for students to practice writing for specific genres without time constraints, which allows for less stress on students and allows them to work through the activity at their own pace. Activities such as these is intrinsic to inclusive classrooms as it allows students to not only collaborate on tasks, which encompasses Piaget’s cognitive development theory where students are able to learn from one another, but also allows students to work at their own pace whilst being monitored by the teacher who can then keep track of how students are handling the course work. Other technologies such as augmented and alternative communication as mentioned in the resource collection specifically caters for students with intellectual or hearing disabilities and allows for them to keep track of verbal notes given by the teacher in class and revise later in their own time. These multi-media activities acknowledge the diverse needs for learners without discriminating based on their abilities, and therefore avoid making students feel singled out or as an ‘other’ in the classroom (Ashman, 2015).
Multi-media resources allow for a wide range of learners to contribute to the classroom and gain an understanding of the coursework. Not only that, but it introduces students to new applications and technology that may be useful in a technology-based world. Although multi-media learning approaches and resources may cater to a number of diverse learning needs, it cannot cater for every learning need. Students with physical disablements may find it difficult to use these technologies, and the graphics used by the activities may affect students with vision impairments or medical conditions such as epilepsy (Rivera et al, 2013). It is important to take these students into account before assigning the activity. Further development of these resources might include activities that have less graphics or incorporating technologies that allow students with physical disablements to use.
Another section included in the resource collection is that of visual sources. Many students require the use of prosthetic learning aides, such as hearing aids, FM radio systems, vision aids or precision lighting, which require different methods or teaching and learning (Ashman, 2015). There are also a growing number of visual learners, due to the increase in the use of technology in the classroom (Rivera et al, 2013). This group of learners who either require or prefer the use of visual aids or prompts can be positively impacted by the inclusion of visual sources an activity in the classroom. Although creative writing is mostly focused on the narrative structure, description is an important element. Students need to be able to visualise what they are writing about before they can successfully transfer thought to paper. The use of a resource such as Storybird, which is a creative writing website that gives visual prompts for ideas, locations, and themes, is one way to ensure that these learners are catered for. These images are also able to be printed by the teacher and strewn about the classroom or by the student for personal study. For students who may have vision impairments, there are other activities that allow them to visualise thought using their imagination as stimulated by the teacher. The Golden Kingdom story is used a way to explain narrative structure, whilst allowing students to use their imaginations to create setting and characters. This activity requires no visual prompts as students typically close their eyes as the teacher reads it aloud, however, requires students to visualise the story in their head and therefore create their own visual source. Teachers need to allow for visual sources to be universal for all students regardless of disability, as the level of appropriate material and support by the teacher can make a large impact on the students learning and experience in an inclusive classroom (Ashman, 2015). The inclusion of visual sources is therefore integral for the teaching of creative writing in a Year 8 inclusive classroom.
Although the resources addressed both visual and hearing impairments that may affect a student learning, there are still barriers that teachers may face using these sources. The Golden Kingdom activity may not be effective for students who have visual impairments that may have prevented them gaining the knowledge of what something, for example a rickety bridge, looks like and therefore make it difficult for them to visualise during the activity (Honigsfeld & Schiering, 2010). Whilst this incites student creativity, it may become difficult for the student to then translate what they imagine the object to look like into an assessment piece. Further development is needed in order to include diverse learners in a type of learning such as visual for such reasons.
The final category of activities outlined in the resource collection is physical activities. Physical activity and engagement are often overlooked in a class such as English as it does not typically translate into the classroom environment. Inclusive classrooms are required to cater for all students, including those with learning impairments or a medical condition such as ADHD that may lead to them becoming restless from being in a classroom all day. Many experts believe that students need to be actively engaged in some form of physical activity in order to have enthusiasm for the coursework to be completed (Miller, 2019). The Disability Standards for Education make it clear that students with medical conditions such as ADHD are to be catered for fairly in the classroom and to receive the same education as those around them without a medical condition, and thereby it is important for teachers to gather resources and activities that will keep these students engaged in a way that is not disruptive to the rest of the class, but engages them all (Department of Employment, Education & Training, 2005). The Black Cat activity requires students to get up and work in groups to perform segments of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ whilst utilising their knowledge of character, theme, and setting. This activity allows students to move around the classroom and become physically involved and connected to the classroom content, which allows them to stay engaged. This also allows students to use the enabling proposition of active involvement as they are able to take initiative during the activity (Ashman, 2015). The Black Cat activity allows the teacher to see students understanding of the elements of a creative story, but also allows the teacher to give the students a ‘mental break’ from regular reading and writing. This in turn keeps students minds alert and engaged which enables them to absorb more from the lesson. Students who are non-verbal may use their body language to convey their understandings, as those who physical impairments may use their voice. Physical activities such as this drama activity enables most students to be involved, as it doesn’t require excessive physical exertion or movement and so students with physical impairments are still able to participate.
Physical activities are a great way to keep students engaged and their minds active in the classroom. However, although the particular activity outlines in the resource collection does not require any physical exertion, there are likely to be some students who still find it difficult to participate in this activity. It is important to acknowledge that some students may have multiple disabilities or impairments that make a physical task like the Black Cat difficult to participate in, and an alternative activity must be arranged to accommodate for these students (Miller, 2010). Whilst this activity can be inclusive on many levels, there must always be alternatives for those who cannot participate in order for all students to be included in classroom activities.
The resource collection focusing on the Year 8 unit of creative writing in English is inclusive to students without discriminating against disability, learning capabilities, or other classroom impairments. This is illustrated using a multitude of learning approaches including multi-media, visual, and physical involvement. Whilst there is always further room for the development of inclusive classroom practices, these resources cater for a wide range of student diversity.
- Ashman, A. (2015) Education for Inclusion and Diversity. Melbourne. Pearson Australia
- Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards
- Department of Employment, Education and Training. (2005). Disability Standards of Education. Canberra. Commonwealth of Australia.
- Honigsfeld *, Andrea, and Marjorie Schiering. “Diverse Approaches to the Diversity of Learning Styles in Teacher Education.” Educational Psychology 24.4 (2004): 487-507. Print.
- Rivera, C. J., Spooner, F., Wood, C. L., & Hicks, S. C. (2013). Multimedia Shared Stories for Diverse Learners with Moderate Intellectual Disability. Journal of Special Education Technology, 28(4), 53–68.
- Miller, C. (2019). What’s ADHD (and What’s Not) in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/whats-adhd-and-whats-not-in-the-classroom/
- Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training, and Affairs Youth. Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. [Electronic Resource]. Pandora Electronic Collection. Melbourne: Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008. Print.