Building Literacies

A Project Prototype by Rachel Mamiya Hernandez

published on Aug 8, 2017

 

Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL) uses meaningful inquiry to engage students with language, communities, and content. This project aimed to connect learners from different parts of the world in building both traditional and digital literacy skills.

According to UNESCO's 2012-2015 Round Table on Literacy Action Plan for Brazil, "Teaching children to read and write is still a major challenge", with children living in the North and Northeast of the country having the highest indicies of illiteracy. This project seeks to raise awareness around this issue and address it via a literacy campaign and the creation and distribution of books for young readers in poor communities in the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil.

In the project I used Hobbs’ (2010) Essential Competencies of Digital and Media Literacies as my framework for the project’s digital literacy objectives.

 

1. ACCESS Finding and using media and technology tools skillfully and sharing appropriate and relevant information with others

2. ANALYZE & EVALUATE Comprehending messages and using critical thinking to analyze message quality, veracity, credibility, and point of view, while considering potential effects or consequences of messages

3. CREATE Composing or generating content using creativity and confidence in self-expression, with awareness of purpose, audience, and composition techniques

4. REFLECT Applying social responsibility and ethical principles to one’s own identity and lived experience, communication behavior and conduct

5. ACT Working individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in the family, the workplace and the community, and participating as a member of a community at local, regional, national and international levels

They were posed with the question of , how can we engage and encourage young readers in low income communities in Brazil? They also looked at the lack of representation of Afro-Brazilian and indigenous characters in Brazilian children’s literature and came up with criteria for a “good children’s book”. Thus, they wrote children’s books for children from a low income community in Northeastern Brazil. They used Storybird to create the books and created a fundraising campaign through social media and email to get friends and family to purchase copies of the books for the children in Brazil.  The books were also available in ebook versions, however the school we were working with in Brazil had limited technology. Since most of them were not able to make the trip to Brazil, they also created short videos which they posted to YouTube, so that the students in Brazil could get to know them.

 

Through this project my students were able to use technology tools appropriately and share information with others.  They analyzed and evaluated traditional books and ebooks and reflected on the lack of representation of certain ethnicities in Brazil.  They created original books and videos with for an authentic audience. They acted individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in an international community. The students in Brazil also built their traditional literacy skills through reading the books and their digital literacy skills in accessing the videos from my students.

Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

What makes a good children's book?

Show and Teletandem

Narrating in the past

A Critical examination of Children's books in Brazil

Launching the Project

Interview with Communities

Managing the Project

Project Group Work Reports

Story Brainstorming!

Individual Work Reports

Writing, Feedback, and Revising

Project Calendar

Editing, Illustrations, Layout and Publishing

Video Campaign

Assessment

Final Product Assessment

Audience reception and Feedback

Implementation Info

Implementation information not specified.

Preparing for the Project

What makes a good children's book?

Students will preview and review ebooks and paper books written in Portuguese.  They will identify key elements that make a good story. After identifying key elements, students will begin to create the rubric for the final book.

Here is the rubric we used to evaluate the books.  Here are the guidelines/criteria for successful children's book that we came up with, we will use these to build our final project rubric.

Technology Tips

Google docs to construct the rubric

Show and Teletandem

Students will Skype with their Teletandem partners who are university students at the Universidade Estadual de São Paulo- Araraquara and ask them about their favorite children's books and stories. This task is designed to get the students thinking about the topic of Children's literature and learn more about Children's books and stories in Brazil.

 

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to miss the day we scheduled to talk to our Teletandem partners about children's books in Brazil.  Here is a summary of what the students found out from their Skype sessions with their partners in Brazil.

Technology Tips

Students will connect with their Brazilian teletandem partners through Skype.

Task Extension

 They will summarize the feedback from their partners and try to identify key engaging elements and themes.

Narrating in the past

Review books, short stories and consult some preexisting grammar materials on the Clica Brasil site.

Task Extension

How do we incorporate these structures into our own stories.

A Critical examination of Children's books in Brazil

Professor Sávio Siqueira from the Universidade Federal da Bahia will visit the class and encourage a critical examination of exisiting children's literature in Brazil.  He will also discuss demystifying stereotypes and how we can make a book that better reflects the realities of the children in our target audience communities.  We used the menino Gustavo video as a starting point for the discussion.

Launching the Project

Interview with Communities

Skype meeting and interview with the target audience communities.  Students will get to meet the school, NGO and community participants and some of the children (if possible).  They will learn more about the communities and bring any questions about likes and dislikes of the students, looking for what engages them and makes them want to read.

 

Skype interview with teachers from PRACATUM Social Project.  Unfortunately due to the time difference and technology infrastructure at the school, only I was able to talk to Kelly, the teacher.  I did report back to the class with information on the community and students.

Technology Tips

Skype

Task Extension

We will use this to help us with our driving question on how to engage and inspire young readers from these communities.

Managing the Project

Project Group Work Reports

Group Progress Report (Relatório de Progresso: Grupo) Since it was a small class and students became very invested in their books, they worked individually and not in groups.

Story Brainstorming!

Students (individually or in pairs) come up with story ideas and pitch them. Class reviews ideas and votes on the best ideas.  The top two ideas will become the stories we work on. Here is a rubric to evaluate intial story pitches.

Technology Tips

Google docs and slides

Individual Work Reports

During each week of the project, students will submit individual work reports  (relatório de progresso: indivíduo) that track their progress, reflect on their work and plan the next steps.

Writing, Feedback, and Revising

Students will work on writing, giving and receiving peer feedback and revising stories in groups. Peer feedback in small groups & instructor feedback on Storybird.

Technology Tips

Storybird

Project Calendar

This is not really a task, but it is the Project Calendar, it outlines when tasks will be completed.  Note that it is tentative and some dates may change.  Also, the target audience will not receive the books until around May/June 2016.

Editing, Illustrations, Layout and Publishing

Students work  on the editing, illustrations and final layout of the books. Books will be sent to be published. We used Storybird for creating, editing, and publishing the books.

Video Campaign

Students make short youtube or vine-type videos encouraging and inviting the children to read their books and encouraging them to read in general.

Assessment

Final Product Assessment

The final version(s) of the book(s) will be assessed via the co-constructed rubric and agreed upon criteria.  The videos for the video campaign will also be assessed with this video assessment rubric.

Audience reception and Feedback

When the books are given to the children and the videos are watched.  The children will give their feedback via short videos or a happy face rating scale with the opportunity for comments.  This will most likely happen after the school year has ened, so the students involved in the project will receive this feedback via the teacher and reports from the group that delivered the books.While not a formal assessment, it is an assessment of the final product of sorts. 

             

Delivering the Books                             The children in the Pracatum Project

 

 

Implementation Info

Comments