Thursday, 15 June 2017

How to use Minuscule in the classroom & a freebie

Have you heard about Minuscule? It is a fantastic (and cute) animated tv show of short episodes about insects that is great to use in the classroom. All of episodes are available on YouTube, most running for between 2 and 5 minutes.

I was first introduced to these by our districts speech therapist and I have used them from grades Prep (or Foundation/Kinder) to Year 4 for reading and writing activities. These episodes are perfect for developing vocabulary and discussing what might be happening. They only have background music and sounds, no speaking.

How I use Minuscule in the classroom:
Using prior knowledge Before watching an episode I like to give my students the title or tell them the types of insects in the episode if it's not mentioned. We then brainstorm everything we already know about this insect, e.g. ants- they can carry 100 times their bodyweight, they are small, they work as a team, etc.

Before, During & After (Predicting & what happens next) 
Pause an episode in different parts and predict what might happen next. I love listening to my students exclaiming things while watching these episodes and trying to work out what is happening. Ants is great for this- what is that? are they sugar lumps? marshmallows? where are they going? wow ants can carry heavy stuff! :) so cute! My students find it helpful to record their thinking before, during and after reading. Find my freebie here.

Retell Students watch an episode (Ladybug is great for this) and then turn & talk with a partner to discuss the beginning, middle and end.

Vocabulary: Brainstorm Before watching an episode we brainstorm what might happen, based on the title. We write 10 key words that we think might fit with the story.

Vocabulary: Stretch a sentence After watching we use the colourful semantics cards to create the longest sentence (or 'most colourful' or 'most expensive' depending on what you call it) we possibly can to describe the story. We focus on including all parts of a good sentence- who, what doing, where, conjuctions, etc. For older grades, I use these cards to help us write a summary of the video. If you've never heard of colourful semantics there is a great explanation here.

Summarise When working on summarising I like to use these SWBST activities from Mrs Thomas' Teachable Moments to write a summary of the videos. It's a great way to introduce summarising. My students take turns telling a partner before writing using one the activities from this free pack.

Writing My grade 1 and 2 students loved writing "what happens next" stories after watching an episode.

Do you use this in any other ways? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below.

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