Tag Archives: active learning

Can We Persuade You To Eat Your Sprouts?!

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been trialling some of the new Active Literacy materials for P6/7 with Head of Muir Primary School.

Sharon has been working with 33 P7s on the persuasive writing genre. The learning intention was to develop the pupils ability to give an opinion through a piece of writing. Using the success criteria, pupils looked at persuasive language, synonyms for ‘persuade’ before embarking on an opening paragraph.

Pupils watched this shared ‘text’ to gather evidence of persuasive language and techniques and really enjoyed this activity. Eat Your Sprouts!

Pupils in this class will persuade you, through their writing, that ‘There’s always time for a sprout!’ and they invented new characters to convince readers of the benefits of sprouts.

Here are some of their characters they designed to persuade younger audiences to eat their sprouts:

Working in writing trios, pupils worked hard  incorporating the success criteria of: changing the mind of the reader, using powerful verbs and strong adjectives and setting out main points in a paragraph.

Here are a few examples of their opening paragraphs:

‘Do you eat brussel sprouts? No? Well, you should! Eating brussel sprouts will provide you with many benefits such as making you live longer, run faster than Usain Bolt, jump higher than Captain America and be smarter than Steven Hawkin. You will increase in height and muscles galore, these are just a few of the benefits, so rush out to the shops and buy some now!’

‘Brussels Give You Muscles’

‘Why should we eat these scrumptious brussels? Well, for a start, I am going to convince you that they are God’s greatest creation yet! Can I coax you to understand that if you eat sprouts every day and night, you will become marvellously wealthy, even wealthier than Robbie Williams!’

‘Your dreams will come true with brussel sprouts! How will eating brussel sprouts make your dreams come true I hear you asking!? Well, can I coax you to understand that sprouts of the God of vegetables? I bet you will have them on your plate every night. You might even be caught washing with brussel sprout soap! Messi eats them everyday – that is why he is the best footballer in the world!’

Have they managed to persuade you yet?

 

Active Literacy in the Secondary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team is currently working with two Falkirk Secondary Schools on a very exciting Active Literacy transition project.

The recently published Active Literacy pack takes the Active Literacy programme into S1 and Sharon is currently team teaching with John Doherty at Larbert High School and an S1 class, and soon Graeme High School, also with an S1 class on higher order reading skills.

The P4/5 Active Literacy pack develops the higher order skills introduced at P1-3 and the P6/7/S1 pack takes these skills even further.

The S1 classes are developing the six key reading comprehension skills using the Alfred Noyes poem ‘The Highwayman’ as a ‘text’.

The initial lesson looked at Strategy 1 – prior knowledge of ‘highwaymen’ and this period in time, followed by Strategy 2 – using ‘metalinguistics’ – picking out key phrases/ interesting vocabulary. The pupils then used Strategy 3 – using visualisers to produce a mind-map which incorporated the main themes of a non-fiction text about ‘Highwaymen’.

This is a very exciting project taking the Active Literacy programme into S1 and the skills even further into real life.

The second lesson in this series was really successful and examined comprehension strategies 3 (using visualisers), 4 (inference), 5 (main ideas) and 6 (paraphrasing). In a very short timescale, S1 pupils from Larbert High were able to produce visualisers to summarise the main ideas of two stanzas from the poem. Working in cooperative groups on two different stanzas each, the pupils were able to cover the entire poem. They then went onto producing a summary/ paraphrase of those two stanzas using only 140 characters and published these live on twitter.

Some of the tweets included:

‘The highwayman knocks on the window of the inn and finds Bess #younglove x’

‘The Highwayman is a structured poem which has good describing words #shotottheface

‘The highwayman rides to the inn. Sings a song to the girl. Redcoats make her shoot herself. #death

Sharing the Learning of Active Literacy – A Collaborative Approach to Achieving!

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been investigating the role of other stakeholders to support pupil attainment in Active Literacy. Sharon has devised a series of sessions useful for Support for Learning Assistants in order to share the Active Literacy Programme. These two sessions have already been delivered in establishments across Falkirk and proving popular, as these quotes demonstrate:

“I wish the sessions were longer, I have learned so much already this morning!”

“I am excited to try out some of these ideas with the pupils I support!”

The two sessions look at spellings and phonics, and reading and writing and Sharon provides participants with useful handouts on activities which consolidate classroom learning in Active Literacy. Support for Learning Assistants are given a brief overview of the programme, along with practical tips to use with the pupils they support. These are hands-on sessions with Support for Learning Assistants having a go at some activities such as the five finger strategy, Elkonin boxes and diacritical marking.

The impact on pupil learning is that Support for Learning Assistants are able to use the same language associated with the Active Literacy programme and look at alternative ways to enhance the learning e.g. through the use of the outdoor environment, Smart boards, CD-roms and other sensory experiences.

These sessions are proving very popular and have so far been delivered at St. Bernadette’s, Bainsford (incorporating Drumbowie Primary) and Laurieston.

Active Literacy – Stirling University Initial Teacher Education

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been busy sharing the active literacy message with initial teacher education students at Stirling University. Third year students were provided with a brief overview of the Active Literacy strategies and methodologies before embarking on a practical workshop of activities. The third year students participated in a traditional spelling test followed by an active learning spelling test. They commented on the difference between the two and how much more effective the learning was using the Active approach. They also attempted to split words into Elkonin boxes learned about single phonemes, joined phonemes and split phonemes. They examined a range of ‘texts’ including recipes, stories, picture books and film looking at how the six key comprehension reading strategies can be applied at early level. Students were enthused by this creative approach to active literacy and ‘on a mission’ to try out some of the methodologies on their next teaching placement. It was a really enjoyable morning and Dr. Lynsey Burke commented on how important it is to have had a valuable input and insight into current active literacy approaches within Falkirk Council.

Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics

Anne Forrest from Steljes presented a continuing professional development course to staff from a wide range of primary schools in Falkirk on “Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics.” This was organised and supported by Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team.

This provided hands-on guidance to making use of many of the interactive features of Smart Notebook software to support staff to make learning and teaching in mathematics more engaging for pupils.

Reference was made to resources available to download for free at Smart ExchangeSmart Notebook Express provides a means to access some of the tools in Smart Notebook online.

The presentation by Anne Forrest, along with a host of other resources colleated by Malcolm Wilson to support Falkirk teachers to be able to download the software for use at home, can be found by clicking on the Falkirk Glow Group for ICT in Learning and Teaching.

Comments from participants included:

“Lots of interactive ways to engage learners – opportunities to try these out were useful.”

“Excellent ideas to take away.”

“Very good tips on using the Smart Board in class.”

“Excellent mix of information and practical activity.”

“Extremely helpful course which has provided a vast amount of knowledge and resources to help deliver engaging lessons.”

Active Literacy Network Meeting – Reading

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team was delighted to host the second Active Literacy Network meeting of this year at Camelon Education Centre. As usual, attendance was fantastic and colleagues were keen and enthusiastic to hear the latest Literacy developments, share good practice and network with colleagues. News was shared about the forthcoming P6/7/S1 packs, as well as links to useful websites relating to reading and updates relating to the Early Years conference. Colleagues from Stenhousemuir Primary and Bonnybridge Primary shared good practice from their schools. Colleagues considered using ‘film’ as a text, as well as using resources such as the Comprehension triangles for each stage.

Comments from colleagues included:

‘As usual, inspiring!’

‘Great getting input from teachers sharing good practice!’

‘These courses are fab and really support us!’

‘Enjoyed professional dialogue with other teachers’

‘As always, taking away some new ideas and an ‘enthusiasm’ boost!’

Active Literacy Parent Session at Ladeside Primary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, delivered an active literacy awareness raising session to parents and staff from Ladeside Primary and Carrongrange. The session involved 6 pupils from P1 – 3 who eloquently demonstrated their Active Literacy skills from all areas. The session began with an overview from Sharon, followed by Reciprocal Teaching of the parents by the pupils at various work stations.

Parental comments included:

‘Very enthusiastic presentation’

‘Homework now makes more sense’

‘Well presented, very helpful, will use the websites, thanks’.