Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Reading Wall & The Sentence Board:Essential in an Early Years Classroom!

Last week I had 6 teachers visit from another school. When we were discussing my program, I showed them my sentence display board and how this board supports the development of a reading wall. A Language Experience reading wall is a wonderful way to support beginning readers. Every Early Years classroom must have a sentence strip board.

Method:

Student’s brainstormed sentences are written using the Early Years Shared Writing strategy. The sentences are written on sentence strips, cut up and placed in the sentence board. When 4 sentences are made, the text becomes a ‘little book’ and the sentences are pasted on large sheets of paper and the board is ready for developing the next text. This becomes the Reading Wall and is read everyday.

Using this strategy quickly builds confidence and helps develop each student’s sight vocabulary. I use this strategy mainly at the beginning of the school year. It is a great strategy to use with all Early Years students  and is part of the Language Experience Approach.

 Cheers Nina

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25 000 Visits: Thanks for visiting!

I’m not sure what I’m more pleased about, finishing my reports (draft 1) or 25 000 visits to this blog. Anyway, with reports nearly finished I can now leave the ‘land of challenge’ and return to the ‘land of nice’. Keep visiting & I appreciate comments if you have the time.

 Photo: Beautiful Melbourne (taken last week)- looking out from the ACEP penthouse!

I’ve talked about my Teacher Professional Leave a number of times in my blog. I’ve provided the link below and an invite is extended to all visiors to this blog to join. The ning is about Instructional Rounds, the e5 Instructional Model and ‘Best Practice’. There is really something for every educator and it’s also an opportunity to explore a 21st Century social networking platform being used for an educational purpose.

Link: http://instructionalroundsineducation.ning.com/ 

 Cheers Nina

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The Writing Spacer: Better than two fingers!

I’ve had a lot of feedback about this very simple idea… and it works! I’m encouraging all children to use the writing spacer until they feel confident about leaving spaces between words. Here’s a couple of images showing the type of counters they’re using. These counters are colored but clear.

Cheers Nina

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Week 14: First Year Formal Education for Victorian Preps (5 & recently turned 6 Year Olds) Independent Writing

A very quick post because I’m writing school reports and I’m sorry about the photo quality… This is my Preps first year of schooling, most are 5 years of age and a small number are 6 years old. Some of my 5 year olds have only recently turned 5. This puts their writing development into perspective.

My Preps have just been on their first major whole day excursion to the Immigration Museum in the city. I’ve uploaded their independent writing about the day. To help them remember to put spaces between the words they used a small circular maths counter. This was perfect and didn’t interfere with their writing. This was so successful that my children will continue to use the space counter.

 

Their ‘freebie’ word for this writing piece was ‘Immigration Museum’. My Preps are using their knowledge of sounds and our THRASS chart when writing. I’m really excited by their progress. Each child is on their own journey and all are moving forward.

Cheers Nina

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Independent Writing: Week 13 of Formal Education for my 5 & 6 Year Olds. Writing on lines is actually helping!

This week I gave my students their first lined book. They’ve only been at school for a total of eleven weeks so it’s early. We usually use dotted thirds in my area of Australia, but this year I decided to give my students plain lines before dotted thirds and earlier in the year. Some teachers might question these very young children using lines at all, but as a number of students are writing more than one sentence they actually need a line to encourage them to not confuse one sentence with another. I was wondering how they would handle lines but they loved it. Very grown up… and if they don’t sit their letters on the line it really doesn’t matter. They will eventually.

What will the children understand, know and be able to do?  WALT – We are learning to… Short, sharp and focussed

  • Write a simple text – personally significant
  • Write for their own purpose & share
  • Use their understanding of the alphabet and its sound system when writing
  • Use conventional letters ( transfer of taught letters)
  • Use some simple punctuation i.e. full stop, and capital letters with understanding
  • Begin to talk about how writing is used to share or note ideas, feelings and information
  • Understand the purpose of their writing
  • Form letters correctly – transfer of taught letter and letter families  
  • write a simple Recount / Information text

Independent Journal Writing Samples – a range is shown here.

The children were introduced to their first sequencing scaffold i.e. On Saturday…On Sunday… This is helping to extend their writing. My students are all travelling their own journey but all are moving forward and I can see the transfer of teaching and learning into their writing. I’m revisiting the Early Years Literacy strategies and would say to everyone keep revisiting – Modelled Writing, Shared Writing, Interactive Writing, Guided Writing & Independent Writing.

Cheers Nina

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ATLAS – Looking at Student Work

Once again my thanks go to Mark Walker, who has been a great knowledge provider in the Instructional Rounds learning community. Mark has pointed my TPL colleague Jenni and me in the direction of another great resource. I believe when ATLAS is completed as a pre round activity or as a team / unit activity at school enhanced questioning and observation of student work will result. It also would help answer the direct, where to from here?  ATLAS provides succinct protocols for learning from student work. I draw you attention to the following link ATLAS which details the protocols of ATLAS.

“Learning from Student Work is a tool to guide groups of teachers discovering what students understand and how they are thinking. The tool, developed by Eric Buchovecky, is based in part on the work of the Leadership for Urban Mathematics Project and of the Assessment Communities of Teachers Project. The tool also draws on the work of Steve Seidel and Evangeline Harris-Stefanakis of Project Zero at Harvard University. Revised November 2000 by Gene Thompson-Grove for NSRF.”

Link: http://www.nsrfharmony.org/protocol/doc/atlas_looking_data.pdf 

Cheers Nina

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Visible Thinking- I’m really into this … and believe it’s worth sharing.

Once again Harvard Education has provided its readers with an excellent article & program.

Link: http://instructionalroundsineducation.ning.com/profiles/blogs/visible-thinking-harvard

Extract below from Visible Thinking.

 “Visible Thinking is a broad and flexible framework for enriching classroom learning in the content areas and fostering students’ intellectual development at the same time. Here are some of its key goals:

  • Deeper understanding of content
  • Greater motivation for learning
  • Development of learners’ thinking and learning abilities.
  • Development of learners’ attitudes toward thinking and learning and their alertness to opportunities for thinking and learning (the “dispositional” side of thinking).
  • A shift in classroom culture toward a community of enthusiastically engaged thinkers and learners.Visible Thinking is a broad and flexible framework for enriching classroom learning in the content areas and fostering students’ intellectual development at the same time. Here are some of its key goals:
    • Deeper understanding of content
    • Greater motivation for learning
    • Development of learners’ thinking and learning abilities.
    • Development of learners’ attitudes toward thinking and learning and their alertness to opportunities for thinking and learning (the “dispositional” side of thinking).
    • A shift in classroom culture toward a community of enthusiastically engaged thinkers and learners.”

Please visit http://instructionalroundsineducation.ning.com/ for more readings about Instructional Rounds, the e5 Instructional Model and ‘best practice’.

Cheers Nina

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