|Scooped by Emma Florence Holt|
A students understanding of environmental changes can be enhanced through the use of quality resources such as a picture book. Mike’s Bulldozer and the Big Flood by Nan Bodsworth is a rich text combining a simple story and detailed images highlighting the process of how to address the issue of flooding in regional Australia. This could be used effectively as a resource at the commencement on a unit regarding environmental changes as it encapsulates key components of how individuals, families and communities address the natural disaster, flooding.
The constructivist theory advocates that learning is derived from prior knowledge. This means that schema, organised information about a particular subject matter, can ‘enable us to construct meaning based on what we already know and what we expect to happen given our knowledge about the world,’ (Schraw, 2006, p. 248). Discovering students knowledge using this resource could be executed through a think and match activity. The teacher could make photocopies of each page without words. Before the students have read the story they will be asked to place the sequences of events in order. This will occur in groups of 4-5 students. The students then have to justify to the class their sequence of events before, during and after a flood. From a pedagogical standpoint ‘representing findings through visual organisation, symbols and oral and written language, allows students to think about information in a variety of ways and caters for a variety of learning preferences,’ (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2012, p. 114). The result of this process is twofold. Firstly students prior knowledge is revealed and secondly it caters a variety of learning approaches.
Quality resources provide links to alternate key learning areas. A literacy strategy that could be undertaken using this resource at the beginning of a unit about environmental changes is a ‘see, think, wonder’ thinking routine. Multimodal texts utilise illustrations to create a sub storyline because ‘the visual and verbal texts construct meaning on two levels, through their synchronicity and interaction,’ (Australian Curriculum: English, 2013, p. 1). This can be used to further reiterate a student’s understanding of natural disasters as it creates a multifaceted story. The teacher could show the students the double page spread on page twenty two and twenty three. The children will say what they see, what they are thinking and questions about the picture. For example ‘I see a man driving a bulldozer, I think he is moving sand, I wonder why he has to move the sand?’ This would enhance a teacher’s understanding of student’s prior knowledge of the topic. It also engages students in critical literacy as these ‘activities help students analyse and deconstruct the texts used in the collection of data,’ (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2012, p. 114) by enabling them to ‘read’ the pictures. This enhances their overall understanding of natural disasters, in this case floods, as well as gives the teacher an indication of the overall knowledge for the students surrounding environmental changes.
Australian Curriculum: English. (2013). Viewing and reading picture books. Canberra: Author.
Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2012). Teaching Society and Environment. 4th Edition. Victoria: Cengage Learning
Schraw, G. (2006). Knowledge structures and processes. In P. A. Alexander & P. H. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (2nd Ed). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.