Monthly Archives: September 2011

Teacher Professional Leave (TPL) – Instructional Rounds 2010 – 2011: SMR Pilot Program….

As part of my of my Teacher Professional Leave (TPL), which has continued into 2011 due to the nature of the project, my TPL partner and I have produced a number of videos – BYDAVIT Productions. Our Southern Metropolitan Region, Victoria photostory has been available via a link and now has been posted on YouTube for general viewing.

Recently my TPL partner and I were part of a team set up to evaluate the Central Peninsula Principal’s Network – Instructional Round Program. We used SurveyMonkey to create a questionnaire to collect data. This data has been collated and presented as a Powerpoint. Once the data and feedback has been formally presented to the network, we will upload the presentation in the ning, and I will share it in my blog.

Cheers Nina

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Final Piece of Writing for Term 3- Preps / 5&6 Year Olds: Genre – Recount

My students participated in a walkathon last week. They were given a few ‘freebie’ words (walkathon, raise) to assist them with their recount. The structure of a recount is now embedded in many of my student’s writing. This is the ‘transfer of teaching’ that I often write about. Just because I teach something, doesn’t mean they’ve learnt it! Evidence of learning needs to be empirical. This independent writing is about a common experience. My students have applied the recount structure to a recount which is not a personal journal entry. Fantastic!

Cheers Nina

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The Fresh Air Fund – Information & Link

I’m often contacted by organisations wishing me to promote their cause via Nina’s Arena. I only support non-profit organisations which promote the well-being of children as their mission. Link: http://www.freshair.org/

Hi again Nina,

I wanted to thank you again for helping to support the Fresh Air Fund this past Summer. You’ve helped support the efforts of our local volunteer leaders to recruit more dedicated host families who are willing to open their homes to a Fresh Air child for up to two weeks during the summer. By sharing our Volunteer Host Family Program and wonderful summer memories, we were able to spread the word to other potential supporters, who help to keep our programs flourishing. With your help, thousands of Fresh Air children embarked on free summer vacations this summer. I was hoping you could post a mention on Nina’s Arena to keep the Fresh Air Fund alive in the minds of your readers and followers.

Sara Wilson

Cheers Nina

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Week 10: Final Week of Term 3, Victoria, Australia – Independent Writing – Genre: Recount

My Preps (5&6 year olds) are in their final week of Term 3. It’s wonderful to be their first school teacher, and I’m enjoying their enthusiasm for learning combined with their sense of fun. They love to dance, sing and create, and Friday afternoon is their special time when I’m the DJ and they, including their parents supply the weekly music. They’re an active and industrious group of young learners.

The random examples of independent Recount writing contained in this post displays their understanding of the Recount structure. I’m using the PM Writing Big Book exemplars and structure to scaffold writing development.

Extending my Prep’s writing is a focus and relates to our current inquiry. The children realise that their journal is a record of their personal history. They understand that detail in their journal will provide a better record of their experiences when they read their journal in future years.

I’ve included pictures of our WALT – ‘we are learning to’ and WILF – ‘what I’m looking for’ our success criteria. These are wiped and changed for different tasks. I’m very pleased with my Prep’s writing development, particularly their use and interest in punctuation and detail.

 

Cheers Nina

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Differentiation – Planning for maths: Focus – Counting

Differentiation of instruction to cater for the learning needs of my students is my focus when planning. Planning tasks based on careful assessment
combined with quality feedback has enabled my young students to move along their learning continuum. Differentiation involves instruction which is whole class, incorporates fluid/flexible groupings and individual instruction.

Differentiation is not total individualised instruction. It is the provision of multiple approaches to content, process and product. It’s embedded and centred on the continuous learning of both student and teacher. Individual needs are catered for within the task by allowing choice. Providing choice engages young learners and enables them to build on their prior knowledge, skills and understandings.

Assessment is embedded in the program and carefully planned to provide information ‘for learning’, ‘of learning’ and ‘as learning’. Rick Wormeli discusses planning based on quality assessment and states ‘90% of differentiation is what teachers do before kids walk through that door’. Differentiation is ‘good teaching’.

I’ve been asked to provide some posts on teaching maths. Last week I planned a series of counting tasks, one which had my students complete a recorded counting activity. Our focus has been pattern and order, place value, ‘trusting the count’, ‘counting back’, and ‘counting on’ to solve problems.

My students have been counting by 1’s, 2’s, 10’s, 5’s, 100’s from zero and are now exploring ‘skip counting’ from different numbers.

Children are working at different places on the continuum and tasks are planned to cater for all. The continuum for teaching mathematics being developed at my school is Prep to secondary level. Children progress along the continuum after careful and continuous assessment. The children could choose to count by any number they wished. Some chose to count by 1’s, others by 10’s and 2’s. They all worked independently for this activity.

Cheers Nina

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What are the important events in a Prep’s life? My Timeline – Birth …>…> Today

As part of our inquiry into personal histories, the children have been learning about themselves, their family members, migration and traditions. This is the last week of our present inquiry. My students will be completing their summative assessment this week.

I love children’s drawings, their use of color and perception. Just beautiful!

Cheers Nina

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Problem Solving: The Data Projector

Have you ever used a data projector which displays your image upside down, even though it’s the right way up on your lap top screen? Yes, this has happened several times and was easily fixed, but not this time.

Brainstorm: How can we solve this problem? Take a look at the photo…. and it worked. Like the way we create our own resources, we teachers are great at getting on with the job.

Problem Solved: Turn the data projector upside down…. it worked and our document was the right way up!

Cheers Nina

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Week 8 – PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing: The strategy which supports and accelerates the writing development of young writers!

The key is students working collaboratively, sharing their learning, prompting each other and using skills and language used by teachers. Each student is engaged in the activity and committed to contributing with the support of their peers if needed. Groups can be structured to support children if needed or to extend children.

The Process:

Each child is identified by a color and all are given the opportunity to lead a group. Teaching leadership skills concurrently is essential. The children are given poster sized sheets to write on and colored markers. All students record their name down the side of the paper in their chosen color. This enables the teacher to assess the writing development of individual students.

I use PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing to assess and plan my weekly writing foci. It’s interesting to note that my students’ independent writing improves rapidly.  As with independent writing I’m looking for the transfer of my teaching into my students’ writing. Modelled, Shared and
Independent writing are also planned into my weekly program from week one.

At this stage of the year my students are able to identify their learning needs and will suggest a focus for a writing session. This is powerful! Some children…. and these children are 5 or 6 years old, will teach the writing focus or make suggestions for me to use in my teaching. This strategy extends highly able students, supports and develops the writing ability of students working at the standard and reluctant writers. It is my belief that PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing accelerates the writing ability of all students.

I have written about this strategy many times and provided numerous pictures and a description of my student’s writing development. Naming this strategy the PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach recognizes my student’s commitment and success. They have a passion for writing and I can only hope that their enthusiasm continues as they grow. This strategy has been successfully used with older students.

The genre for the examples displayed in this post is Recount. The children were placed in mixed ability groups writing about a common experience. The Recount success criteria negotiated with my students was to include a title, sequence of events and personal comment. This is the format provided in the PM Writing Exemplars available at Nelson Cengage Learning.

Using WALT ‘we are learning to’ and WILF ‘what I’m looking for’ collaboratively developed with my students provides a clear success criteria and learning intension.

Post Script: 70 000 visits – Thanks for the support, comments, emails and sharing of your ideas. It is appreciated!

Cheers Nina

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Term 3 – Week 7 Independent Writing: Genre – Recount (5/6 Year Old Prep Students – Australia)

The PM Exemplars for Teaching Writing (Big Books) underpin my writing program. I use these exemplars to support and scaffold my student’s composition development. Young writers need structure when extending their written texts. My student’s often hear me say, ‘tell me more’. I’m very
pleased with my student’s writing and reading development, but most importantly I enjoy their enthusiasm for learning. The samples displayed within this post are examples of independent recount writing.

Cheers Nina

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