Friday, July 28, 2017

Developing Language Skills in our students.

All the research tells us our students are arriving at school with low oral language skills. The oral language children have when they start school directly impacts on their ability to think and to learn. Alison Burge presented findings from the "Welcome to school project" in Tamaki schools showing 53% of New Entrants assessed had significant concerns in Communication.

All students who enter the school environment need to learn about a variety of conventions and routines of talking and listening in a context that is unfamiliar to most of them. Students’ oral language improves through practice, that is, when students talk regularly for different purposes and with different partners.  (Ministry of Education. (2009). Learning Through Talk: Oral Language in Years 1 to 3. Wellington)

At Sommerville we extremely fortunate to employ our own Speech language therapists who work directly with students and provide on going Professional development to our staff.
Francesca Bierens SLT has shared her Verbal language development Summary for how language is developed and the progress
 'Assisting Students with Language Delays in the Classroom  - A Practical Language Programme'

                                Published:  In 2015 by Speechmark Publishing Ltd, London, UK,

I have attached Oral language resources from Francesca that are worth a read.

Oral language development and abilities have significant impact on our students ability to access the curriculum in all areas.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Early writing levels

While researching my  USLT Inquiry I have observed students whose  writing levels are too low to be assessed by NZ standardised testing.

At Sommerville we are currently using a Developmental Writing Scale which is helping us identify what level our students are at and what their next learning targets are.

I thought I would share this with our Mainstream colleagues.

Developmental Writing Scale

Check out this great one page  visual snapshot of children's writing development.

Reminder to Manaiakalani COL schools that you can book time with me to discuss your literacy programmes for students with additional needs.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What's your learning style ?

What's your learning style?

Each of us has a preferred way of learning. You may learn best visually, by listening, by reading and writing, or by doing.
This way of thinking about learning preferences is known as VARK:
• Visual images – you prefer learning material in a pictorial or graphic format
• Aural messages or the spoken word – you like to listen to lectures and discuss your work
• Reading and making notes – you learn best through reading and writing
• Kinaesthetic or active learning – you prefer to learn through practical activities
Some learners may show a strong preference for one of these ways of learning, while others use a combination of learning styles.
Have you thought about the learning styles of your students?

I was reminded just how important learning styles and learning preferences when working with students who have ASD . Using students strengths and preferences to support new learning.  All students deserve access to the best learning opportunities.
How do you see your students? Check out this video for a different perspective.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Additional support at Writing time.

Do your students need additional support at writing time?
Sometimes using writing plans and frames at the planning and draft stage help our learners remember their ideas add more information to their stories.

 Sentence starters and models scaffold the students writing until they understand the structure needed and have developed a memory for their ideas.

Writing involves alot of thinking and processing  as well as good language skills.

"Planning takes the writing assignment and long-term memory as input, which then produces a conceptual plan for the document as output. Planning includes sub-activities of generating (coming up with ideas), organizing (arranging those ideas logically in one’s head), and goal setting (determining what effects one wants to achieve and modifying one’s generating and organizing activities to achieve local or global goals). "  Hayes and Flower (1980)

Let's make it easier for our students to experience success!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scaffolding the learning.

This week I had the opportunity to visit Khismira Lal at Pt England School.
I was particularly interested in how Khismira offers additional support to her students, especially when they are working independently or in small groups without the teacher.

It was incredible to see the extensive planning and preparation that goes into Khismira's reading programme. I was very impressed with the thought gone into scaffolding the learning for her students when using the Ipad app Explain Everything.

I particular like the idea of adding sound bites to help the students with instructions.
Fabulous Idea !
What a great way of teaching Concepts about print.  I am keen to try this with some students next term.

Thanks Khismira - highly recommend spending some time in her classroom.