Writing the Future

If you’re a Year 6 parent, you may be familiar with the ‘Museum of Migration’ project that has been running throughout the year. For those who aren’t, the project requires students to research, document and present the experiences of a post-federation migrant to Australia. In past years, the project was known has ‘Stories of Migration’. Students, then, were required to present their findings formally (as an essay), but this year that’s all changed.

Why the change?

In 2018, the Primary English Teachers Association Australia (PETAA) introduced a grant called ‘Writing the Future’. The initiative was designed to challenge participating schools to develop a unit that would help to teach the art and craft of writing. It also set out to encourage students to present their work on a digital platform—a challenge that St Peters Primary Years Teacher Librarian, Christina Wheeler, was willing to accept.

“I dug into the Year 6 Curriculum and thought, could we develop the Stories of Migration unit to encompass research and writing in a more creative and engaging way?”

The answer was yes! Christina developed a proposal for PETAA. In it, she expressed her desire to transform the existing unit of study—to swap essay-writing for fact-based storytelling and incorporate the use of graphic postcards and letters; photos and captions; audio narration; and video clips all presented in an interactive online showcase. Her proposal was accepted. 

St Peters becomes one of four…

St Peters Indooroopilly was one of just four schools across Australia to receive the PETAA grant. With it, our students were able to pair with an author for three days of mentoring and also received $500 for materials and resources. In addition to this, they worked with St Peters Digital Learning Coach, Jonathan Nalder, and eLearning Facilitator, Rachael Yates, to master apps like:

  • Canva (design editor)
  • Photofox (photo editor)
  • iMovie (video editor)
  • Thinglink (in-image interaction tool)

Throughout the year, St Peters students have assembled their interactive collateral into Firefly to tell their migrant stories.

Project outcomes

The St Peters ‘Writing the Future’ grant (and ‘Museum of Migration’ project) has had many positive outcomes. Not only have our students been able to work with a range of emerging technologies and highly knowledgeable coaches and mentors, but collaboration between College staff and departments has also been encouraged. While the project was intended as one which would instil a sense of digital curiosity amongst St Peters students, it’s benefits have been far more widespread.

Recently, Christina and Rachael presented these findings at PETAA’s national conference in Canberra. To find out more, read the full article in the October 2018 edition of Plus Ultra.