New learning = blogging explosion

Yet more just in time learning! I wanted to create some QR code stickers for our school Ready to Read texts so I don’t have to keep fluffing searching for the audio file during the lesson, or going and putting a bookmark on each device to the text. I was going to use bit.do for short links & creating QR codes. A quick Google search & some experimenting = success!

How to create QR codes on mass  – use this. It does work. I was really suprised – but excited.

“Getting Ready:
  1. Go to: drive.google.com.
  2. Create a new spreadsheet.
  3. Label Column A “Text or URL.”
  4. Label Column B “QR Code.”
  5. Resize the columns and rows so they look like the screenshot below.
  6. Enter some text or URLs in column A.” Quoted from Google Search”

I then wanted to resize the cells so that QR codes were larger. I figured out how to do one – a bit painful, but achievable – on mass though? No. There is a shorter way.

Resize cells in Google Sheets – “Locate and click the Select All button just below the formula bar to select every cell in the spreadsheet. Hover the mouse over the line between two rows. The cursor will turn into a double arrow . Click, hold, and drag the row border to modify the height.” Quoted from Google Search. 

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Barbara Brann: building blocks for early literacy.

I attended a course in Dunedin today, courtesy of the RTLB service. It focussed on building blocks for early literacy and building up the pillars needed for successful literacy. It focussed on five key areas: printing (concepts of print), talking (oracy), looking (visual), moving (motor), listening (auditory).

These form the foundations of successful literacy, and help students to get ‘curriculum ready.’ A significant emphasis of the day was taking the child as where they are, not calling them below etc. They are where they are.

Learning was frequently related to swimming. If you had a child in the swimming pool you don’t just drop the kid in the deep end and hope they learn. You take them where they are at and put those foundations in place.

Overall: a great day, well worth the trip and the time away from class, an engaging speaker who lined up with Yolanda Soryl’s work. I learnt a lot.

I will follow up with more at a later date, but evening is nigh so I shall sign off for now.

Summary
BMB youtube powerpoint summary
Website for purchasing resources

Yolanda Soryl follow up.

I was going to put up my notes from Yolanda Soryl‘s course, but they contain multiple pages of a workbook from the course that I photographed and annotated as part of my learning (un unavailable for purchase unless you do the course). I think that it would be a breach of copyright for me to put these up. Frankly I don’t want to risk it. The course was well worth attending, and would be again, in a year, once I have taught the material for a while.

One of the biggest benefits has been learning to teach phonics: strange, I know given I have worked with year two and threes for the past few years, but I was not teaching with any kind of systemic approach. That (the systemic approach) is one of the key things I have taken away from this programme. Yolanda Soryl seemed to have a ‘bang, bang, bang’ keep it moving approach.

Additionally I was teaching reading today (in the Cave – small group teaching room). I took the ‘bang bang bang’ approach (or tried to) and kept reading moving. That was the goal anyway. My aim was to bring in a degree of urgency. I did. The kids were really focussed and engaged. I will definitely keep going with that.

I also used Yolanda’s method to teach the letter ‘s’ today. I missed a key component of it though – the hook with the story and the picture. We had a song which we sang, but I did it out of order. I will follow Yolanda’s advice (insistence really) and teach with the lesson plan open. I also need to get some form of assessment done for this as there are a couple of students who are using initial letter sounds already. Regardless, students all got what the letter ‘s’ was and the sound it makes. They had a little more trouble with the shape. I did ‘dge’ with an older group and need to do some revision there.

Reading

I have introduced a different format of reading contract. It made a small difference to students as they had all their information there in front of them, except that which they were required to do AFTER seeing me for their lesson. 

There was a definite improvement in student engagement, but reading is an area I am using ICT in a minimal fashion. We are currently studying narratives in writing (consequently we are focussing on them in reading as well). 

I am a big believer that ICT should not be used for the sake of it, but I am certain that I could better enhance student learning through ICT. 

One of my biggest issues is getting students to revisit a text multiple times: they just lose interest. Clearly this is a praxis issue. I am failing to engage them in the examination of texts. 

How can ICT be used to enhance this

We are working on summarising in my two comprehension groups. This ties in perfectly with creating comics.

Students could complete a variety of summarising tasks which require them to work as a team to achieve this. 

  • Create a movie of the story (taking a section in pairs/threes)
  • Retell it using various multi-media
  • Create various alternate endings. Students could script a ‘what if’ scenario and then design an alternate ending which they conclude in some form or another. 
  • Partners work to create a comic
  • Focus on an aspect of the text each and represent that in some fashion (e.g. setting/character)

How will you measure success? 

The number of complaints and ‘can we read a different one’ statements. Track these over a period of three weeks to see if they will reduce. 

Question: will this inform their writing skills?