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.

BMB youtube powerpoint summary
Website for purchasing resources

Teacher registration: evidence and cultural competencies.

With a major change coming to the way the NZ Teachers Council is set up and running, there is going to be a much greater need for ‘evidence.’ Part of me thinks: great – more paperwork. But the other parts think this makes sense. We are pushing the ‘professionalism’ aspect, and with that comes the ‘a’ word: accountability. We live in the age of accountability.

That’s my warm up! Today’s in-school PLD was on teacher registration – looking at evidence and Tataitoko cultural competences. We did a jigsaw exercise which forced us to examine these (and the parts of the registered teacher’s criteria) in close detail. I need to go back and reread those when my brain is not so full.

Part of the meeting was considering what that evidence will look like, and we will revisit this in a few weeks. I have begun investigating some different methods using the VLN. The teacher’s council website is quite good. I found this example of tags that could be used and this really good TKI site which has some examples.  Continue reading

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.