Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Welcome to a new year.

Welcome back   -  Exciting year ahead.

What a super busy and hot start to the new year.
I hope everyone is settling into your classrooms and roles for 2019.
I am fortunate enough to still hold the Across COL role for Supporting special needs in our Manaiakalani schools.

Please dont hesitate to get in touch if i can help in any way.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Update and thanks

Achievement Challenge 5

Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/key competency using language symbols and texts

My Inquiry

Will using fine-grained assessments improve teacher capacity for setting appropriate goals for students who fail to register on standardised tests?

This year :
I have had the opportunity to assess student with additional needs in several COL schools using a variety of assessment tools not normally used in mainstream classes.

A lot of our students with additional needs often dont measure on normal assessment tools eg Asttle, Running records

We need detailed information to identify our students needs and strengths.

This year I have found some interesting common themes across several student I have assessed

These common themes include:

Auditory sequential and visual sequential improved sequential memory can help improve your child’s reading skills.
Auditory sequential and visual sequential memory
skills are the ability to remember things seen and heard in sequence.

Visual Sequential Memory is the ability to remember visual details in the correct sequence.

Auditory memory involves being able to take in information that is presented orally, to process that information, store it in one's mind and then recall what one has heard. Involves the skills of attending, listening, processing, storing, and recalling.

Visual Tracking – The ability to look at something and follow it as it moves or the ability to track a line, such as in reading. Visual tracking issues may also cause difficulty in math. Students may have difficulty lining up numbers vertically or horizontally.

My observations

  • Teachers are working extremely hard out there ! 
  • More of the same “stuff” won’t work 
  • What's the goal - learning the student needs 
  • We need to be working smarter not harder – and the way to do that is to know what the strengthen and gaps are of our students and so we can support these. 

My inquiry continues ; to look at best practise to support these learners with their specific goals.

One of the aspects I believe will have a significant impact on these learners is to:

Learn - create  -share : The Create aspect needs to be more of a focus especially for our students with additional needs eg hands on manipulative materials, fine motor skills
And the ARTS curriculum is often where these students flourish. 

If I could encourage one additional skill for all our students

· Asking for help or admitting you don't know or don’t understand

- this is for our students and our teachers.

If we want to encourage our students to recognise when they don’t know something or they need to ask for help or know how to find the answer

– then as teachers we need to model the same thing – we as teachers can’t know everything!!
Also remember we are all life long learners so remember ask for help and support from our Colleagues 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers and Senior Management of the Manaiakalani school I have worked with and those who allowed me to assess their awesome students.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Asking for help!

A vital skill for our students  to learn is how and when to ask for help.

The best way to model this is to show them that even as teachers we need to find out answers to things we don’t know and ask for help too.

In order to improve our own knowledge we need to ask for help from others or learn where to find the answers.
Isn’t that one of the reasons our COL exist, to share and learn from each other.

When was the last time you asked for help or talked to your students about this very important skill?

Be a life long learner and ask for help!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Let's put the CREATE - in Learn Create Share


Drawing activities allow students to explore color, line curvature, length and direction, how lines can be used to draw shapes and shapes can be combined in different ways to make patterns and represent people, animals and objects.
Drawing helps children to develop the  visual-spatial skills needed for mathematics. Pattern making is also an important aspect of developing mathematical ideas in young children.  

Fine motor activities and handwriting tasks

As a student performs handwriting exercises, you will begin to notice a difference in their  visual perception and fine motor development.
Additional benefits may include the following:
  • You will be able to identify fine-motor problems                     
  • You will improve tracking, retention and pencil grip                  
  • You will help your child establish dominance
  • You will improve their visual-motor skills, crossing the midline and hand-eye coordination
  • You will provide more opportunities for sensory-motor development.

Music engagement is an excellent way to encourage brain development in our students. Music has the ability to activate many different areas of the brain at once, such as areas associated with language, memory, hearing, and areas used to process sensory information. 

Music  is an excellent way to do educational activities in a fun and motivating way.
I have personally witnessed several times student who really talk or have communication challenges begin to sing.

Music can help stimulate your student’s brain in different ways, dance can help develop fine motor skills, and drama teaches emotions and problem-solving. 

Dance is important in education. The acts of imitation, repetition, coordination, and exploration of movement to the rhythm of the music will promote memory training and coordination.
Learning routines and memorising moves is a good mental exercise for your child. It’ll encourage them to use their mental strength without necessarily realising it. Dancing is a great way to help develop your child’s brain and ignite the spark of creativity 

Dancing, and other forms of art, can be used as tools of expressions and exploration for our students. They can use their creativity to think through misunderstanding, and communicate understanding effectively, even though they may not know how to use their words. 

Let's extend our students learning and CREATE.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Encouraging reading

Nz Government promises new Learning support coordinators in schools

One in five children had a disability or other learning and behavioural needs .

The Government says it will create 600 new positions in schools for learning support coordinators to take the pressure off teachers.

Learning support coordinators will work in schools to ensure children with diverse learning needs get the support they need to learn, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The first coordinators won't be in place till 2020 under the scheme, which will cost $217 million over four years. The Government says it will roll out more positions over future years.

Let’s hope so - our learners need help and we as teachers need support.