Report from the Field – Michelle Fisher – 3

Here are some more observations from Michelle in Australia. I love Michelle’s idea of the “draw-offs” and will probably add it to the book:

Hi Ben,

Yes, the self-study course definitely works!

I totally agree that the ICI brings incredible images and stories out of the students and are by far the most fun to work with. I did give some verbal and written instructions with the first class I tried it with and I didn’t get even one workable ICI. That’s when I created the PowerPoint and used it with my other three classes. About 50% of students in each of those classes created really interesting images and cohesive back stories. The mafia carrot and the ice cream magician were the two finalists in one of those classes and they were both so good that we decided to put them in a story together. Not in a million years could I have come up with the magician turning the carrot into a puppet to take over the mafia!

In the Eggplant story, I used the “un secret” technique to say the shark didn’t like the taste of eggplants but the eggplant liked the taste of sharks. At the request of students, I’ve been having draw-offs between two competing drawing teams in separate corners of the room. I also allowed other students who really wanted to draw the story to create their own pictures. We ended up with an amazing collage of drawings including one that unfolded to reveal the shark coming out of the eggplants mouth. One student said the story was like an UNO reverso card which changes the direction of play in the card game. Even with all this, we can still get all the way around the star with the 5 quick quizzes in one or two class periods even though many of my students have diagnosed learning difficulties.

As you saw, I did make some changes to the characters for the PowerPoint like keeping the name Lizette for the box instead of the star and changing trash and can to rubbish and bin because that’s what they are called in Australia. Using the PowerPoint made a huge difference in the quality of ICIs I got from students so please let your community know they are free to try it if they wish and if you are ok with that. I will definitely show your Pringle Man story drawing to my future classes as a model before trying these longer stories which I can’t wait to do. I haven’t quite got to the end of your Book 2 and I have a lot more videos to watch but I hope to be doing these longer stories with my grade 9 class next year. I really enjoyed Pringle Man. It not only helped me see how a multi-paneled story works, it helped me see how to keep using many reps which is something I definitely need to work on.

I’m also not sure if you  know about Kahoot! It is an online quiz game that is projected on the board and students answer on their phones or other devices. Teachers can create their own games, use a library of images, or upload their own images. I created Kahoots! from each of my classes’ stories and we played them as one of our activities. Students loved seeing their artwork embedded in the game. It can also generate reports so could be used as another participation or quiz grade. Obviously, I do teach in a wealthy school where all students have their own computers. I’ve attached screenshots of multiple choice questions and ordering mixed up sentences.

Fortunately, there are only three language teachers here at my school and we are very supportive of each other and experimentation. I have also had lovely feedback from parents. We did put some of our stories in this year’s yearbook. I haven’t yet tried recording myself or figured out the best way to post all these things but I plan on getting help in these areas from my colleagues who are more tech savvy than I am. So much to learn and I do have a few questions for you but I’ll wait until I’ve had a chance to finish reading your book and watching more videos.

Kind regards,




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