All posts by Miss Wallace

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, School and Service Improvement team led a CPD session on The Thinking Reader approach to active reading. 54 colleagues attended the session.

Kristina McGinley, Hallglen PS, Aimee Roan, Carron Primary School, Anita Cowan, St. Mary’s RCPS and Alison Marshall, Drumbowie PS all shared good practice in this area. Kristina had observed Sharon teaching using this approach, whilst the other three ladies had attended the course in November. All four teachers explained how using this approach to reading had led to noticeable increased attainment in reading skills.

Colleagues then participated in a Thinking Reader lesson before considering how they could use it in their own establishments. They all engaged in professional dialogue considering how this approach could be used to develop the six reading comprehension skills across a range of texts from a range of genres.

Schools Library Service also contributed to the session by providing a wide range of resources which support this reading approach.

All resources produced so far for the Thinking Reader can be found on the Active Literacy Resource section on GLOW.

Monitoring for Improvement in Active Methodologies

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team, delivered a session to 25 Principal Teachers as part of their network programme. The course asked participants to consider how the use of active learning methodologies raises attainment across the curriculum.

Colleagues began the session using a placemat activity to examine questions, challenges, successes and barriers to monitoring active methodologies.

Sharon then provided an overview of the active literacy programme from Nursery to S1 which included: spelling and phonics, reading and writing. The principal teachers were provided with a range of materials to support effective monitoring in this area. They then watched a range of good practice videos highlighting active literacy strategies and methodologies in action in Falkirk schools.

Sharon then provided an overview of effective teaching strategies within cooperative learning and what to look out for in a ‘cooperative learning’ environment. Again, colleagues were able to watch a short series of videos highlighting the five basic elements of a cooperative learning lesson. Discussions were stimulated around the use of effective questioning and use of Assessment for Learning techniques.

The session concluded with participants stating next steps to further development effective monitoring in active methodologies.

For further information, please contact Sharon Wallace – sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

Feedback was positive with colleagues expressing thanks for the opportunity to see the whole programme across all stages.

Active Approaches to Numeracy

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team recently organised a professional learning opportunity entitled ‘Active Approaches to Numeracy’. 57 colleagues from Primary, Secondary and the Curriculum Support team (including QIO) spent the day examining a range of active strategies to improve attainment in mental mathematics.

 Helen MacKinven, from Big Maths provided an overview of strategies including: jigsaw numbers, CLIC and partitioning. Colleagues were also treated to the experience of a ‘Beat That’ mental maths quiz.

Clusters then worked together to look at ways forward to improve attainment in mental maths. Feedback from this day has been extremely positive.

A number of colleagues have put their names forward to be part of the Numeracy Mobilisation Team. This work will inform the update of Falkirk Council’s numeracy strategy. The first meeting for this group is being held on 12th February. For further information on this, please contact Sharon Wallace at sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

Using Media to Support Literacy Skills

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team and John Doherty, Principal Teacher of English and Literacy at Larbert High School this week delivered a CPD opportunity to staff from the Braes Cluster.

The aims for this session were:

•To provide an overview of ways to use ‘cultural tools’ to support pupils to learn and express their ideas

•To explore ways pupils can read with understanding, communicate effectively face to face, in writing and through an increased range of media

Sharon began with an overview of the six reading comprehension skills and outlining the range of media resources available to support the development of these skills.

John began by outlining the key differences between a ‘book’ as text and ‘film’ as text:

John then identified the different types of camera angles: close-up, extreme close-up, high/ how angle shot, long shot, point of view shot, zoom and tracking. John showed different stills from a range of films and the teachers identified each shot.  The teachers were then asked to use their mobile devices to produce a camera shot from this list.

John then went onto analysing the use of music in film and we learned that music in film is known as the soundtrack. It  can be divided into two categories –

   a. Diegetic music (in the film – characters can hear)

  b. Non-diegetic music (music that characters cannot hear – not part of the film’s ‘reality’)

We then analysed a scene from Jurassic Park identifying examples of diagetic and non-diagetic music.

The final part of the course looked at the effect of lighting in film. We analysed a range of stills taken from recent films and examined the effect the lighting had on the meaning of the text.

At the end of the session, colleagues put all of their newly learned knowledge and skills to the test by analysing the film trailer for War Horse.

Feedback from this session was very positive and the course will be running again at Camelon Education Centre on March 5th from 4 til 5.30pm. (Course Code SW008). We are also hoping the Film Club will be attending this session too to share how Falkirk establishments can sign up to the fabulous range of resources on offer to support the development of literacy skills using film as text.

For more information about this and other literacy courses, please contact Sharon Wallace.

Active Literacy – Networking

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has hosted three Active Literacy Networking sessions this week at Camelon Education Centre.  Colleagues participated in Early, First and Second level network meetings with a focus on sharing good practice and professional discussion around literacy.

Colleagues from a number of Falkirk Council establishments participated in a range of activities including: updates, Using Smart Notebook Toolkit 2.0 and sharing good practice. Sharon was delighted to hear all the good practice and good news stories happening. It is really encouraging to hear how confident pupils are using the six key comprehension strategies in reading and how much pupils are enjoying learning new strategies to help with their common/ tricky words.

Teachers were provided with an update of all things new in the world of literacy including:

  1. The Literacy Strategy
  2. Every Day’s  a Learning Day
  3. The Daily What (Bothkennar’s article)
  4. Courses delivered this term including Using Twixter and Fakebook
  5. The Thinking Reader approach
  6. Using Blooms fans and comprehension skills triangles

Sharon demonstrated how Smart Notebook Toolkit 2.0 can be used to create effective learning experiences for spellings and phonics. Colleagues then produced their own Active Literacy games using anagram, keyword, multiple choice, sentence arrange, vortex sort, word biz and word guess.

Sharon then invited colleagues to share examples of good practice and these included:

  • Bainsford Primary teachers Emma Cuthbert and Claire Morrison shared some fabulous evidence of literacy using the outdoor environment and also how they have been engaging with parents and consolidating phoneme work. They also recommended the use of online support materials such as Geraldine the Giraffe!
  • Helen McNeill from Whitecross Primary shared some fabulous task cards she has produced to enable her learners to be independent in their Active Literacy activities.
  • Laura Cotton, a probationer from Bo’ness Public has produced her own materials using Toolkit 2.0 and she shared her lesson on the phoneme ‘ee’

Some colleagues were unable to attend, but still shared their good practice and these included:

  • Andrew Watson, DHT from Bonnybridge Primary kindly shared his reading planner for ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar’
  • Carol from Laurieston shared her Reading toolkit for second level
  • Alison Marshall from Drumbowie shared her reading planner for Carrie’s War

Suggestions for the theme for the next round of network meetings included – more ideas using Toolkit 2.0 and reading. The Daily What and Film Club have offered to attend our network meetings to share what they can do to support schools too.

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

Active Numeracy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team for Falkirk Council has delivered a lecture to 91 second and third year ITE students at Stirling University entitled ‘Active Approaches to Numeracy’.

The aim of the session was to provide an overview of how Falkirk establishments are using active methodologies to increase attainment in mental mathematics.

Sharon explained that numeracy is a skill for life, learning and work. It is not just a subset of mathematics, it is also a life skill which permeates and supports all areas of learning. (Maths and Numeracy Principles and Practices paper).

Sharon asked the students to make a list of all the numbers they had encountered on their way to Stirling Uni that morning and the students surprised themselves at how many numbers there are in society. Answers included: car number plates, alarm clocks, measures on their breakfast cereal/ milk, house numbers, cash line etc.

After giving the ITE students a short mental maths ‘quiz’, Sharon encouraged the students to share the strategies they used to calculate the answers. One question was ‘If a loaf of bread is £1.19, how much would four loaves cost?’ There were a range of strategies used and discussed.

Sharon then shared the ‘Every day’s a learning day’ numeracy video which is available on Falkirk Council’s you tube channel.

The session went on to look at ways in which pupils can benefit from more active approaches to numeracy with examples.

Sharon also provided the students with examples of how asking effective questions can gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

The students had to devise their own numeracy problems for a class they are currently supporting using just the answer as a starting point. There were a wide variety of questions devised which stimulated lots of thought and discussions.

Sharon then went onto ask the students to consider how they can create effective maths environments looking at inside and outside spaces.

The final part of the course looked at a variety of different numeracy websites available to enhance and increase knowledge and understanding of mental maths.

Reading is Rubbish?! Engaging Families in the Learning

 Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has taken part in a recent workshop activity held at Falkirk High School.

The title of the event was ‘Reading is Rubbish’ and was aimed at parents and families of pupils in Falkirk schools. There were several workshops on offer at the event, which was led by author and patron of reading at Falkirk High School, Catherine MacPhail.

Sharon delivered two workshops to several parents, carers and pupils entitled: ‘Using Chocolate Cake to Demonstrate Reading Strategies’. Sharon used Michael Rosen’s poem ‘Chocolate Cake’ as a stimulus for developing reading and writing skills.

Participants engaged in several activities which addressed the six key comprehension strategies in active literacy reading. They were tempted by the lure of a piece of rich, icky-sticky, ooey-gooey, scrumptious chocolate cake and used fabulous adjectives to describe the treat.

Feedback from the workshop was extremely positive and families went away learning several new strategies to help their children with the development of reading skills at home.

Feedback included:

“I just wanted to say how much we thoroughly enjoyed the “Reading is Rubbish” event on Wednesday. Having attended the “chocolate poem workshop” – My daughter, who is 3, stood up in nursery and told all of her peers that “reading is not rubbish, it’s great fun and you even get chocolate cake!”  My son who is P5 (and my reluctant reader) actually enjoyed it more than I thought he would have, he was telling everyone how great it was. I thought the workshop I attended was excellent.”

Scottish Learning Festival 2013 – Sharing Good Practice

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team delivered a workshop to 95 colleagues from across Scotland and beyond at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival.

The theme of the presentation was ‘Sharing the Learning with Parents/ Carers – Active Methodologies’ and the aim of the session was to provide an overview of the wide variety of approaches Falkirk establishments are using to share active methodologies with parents and carers.

The agenda for the workshop was:

  • An overview of the Falkirk picture
  • An explanation of the range of active methodologies used in Falkirk
  • Parent/ carer workshops on offer
  • Literature/ leaflets used
  • Online methods – blogs/ you tube/ twitter
  • Working in partnership with schools/ partners
  • How this fits into Falkirk’s Literacy Strategy 2013 – 2016

Three pupils from Kinneil Primary School spoke eloquently and confidently about their experiences helping out at active learning workshops for parents. They talked about how attending the parental workshop gave their own parents ideas on how to support their homework.

Sharon shared a short video of Susan Dyer from Bankier Primary School explaining the impact an active learning workshop had on her school, as well as a video from a Bankier parent describing what it meant to her and her family.

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https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/LiteracyStrategy/

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Feedback included:

"Inspirational, you have really motivated me!"

"Thank you for sharing the Active Literacy parental leaflets - they are very useful."

Lots of delegates who attended this seminar then came along to Falkirk Council's stand in the Local Authority Village to enquire about our short animations Falkirk has developed on CfE and Active Literacy.