Tag Archives: active literacy

Probationer CPD – Active Literacy

This week Probationers in Falkirk Council have been engaging in professional development on Active Literacy – one of the resources used in Falkirk Council to teach literacy in our primary schools.

To begin the session an introduction video from Falkirk Council’s YouTube channel was shared.

Further videos to Active Literacy can be found at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/user/FCEducationServices

The session was then broken down into three sections – spelling and phonics, reading and writing.

The teaching of phonics using magnetic boards was explained and the importance of distinguishing between the spelling of tricky words (words which cannot be ‘sounded out’) and phonics was discussed.  Spelling strategies in upper school were also shared and evaluated.

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Kayleigh Docherty then introduced how she taught reading in her classroom using the Thinking Reader approach.  Kayleigh completed her probationary year in Falkirk Council last year and was happy to share her experiences.

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More information can be found on Thinking Reader at the following websites:

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/assessment/ssln/resources/literacyreadingnew/literacyreadingsupport/strategies.asp

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/CurriculumSupport/2013/11/25/the-thinking-reader-active-literacy/

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/CurriculumSupport/tag/thinking-reader/

St Patrick’s RC PS enjoys the benefits of student exchange

WP_20160620_006[1]Pupils and staff at St Patrick’s RC PS in Denny have enjoyed hosting student teacher Marjorie Brewer from Chicago, USA. Marjorie arrived in Scotland in early May, and has been working with  Victoria Daly’s primary 1 class, and Antoinette Irwin’s primary 5 class.

She feels she has benefitted a great deal from getting to know the Scottish school system, and from experiencing both primary stages, and being part of the wider life of the school.

Marjorie’s student teacher exchange placement at St Patrick’s RC PS was arranged between head teacher Anne O’Donnell, Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support officer, Falkirk Children’s Services, and Laura Stachowski, Director, Global Gateway for Teachers, Indiana University Bloomington. When Yvonne popped into school for a quick visit, primary 5 were enjoying a writing lesson led by Marjorie. She used a power point about her home city as a stimulus for the lesson, and adapted elements of Antionette’s practice to give pupils sufficient structure, but also room for personal freedom and creativity within their writing task. Pupils were responding well, by creating a diary of their imaginary visit to that city.

WP_20160620_001[1]Finlay in primary 5 feels that having a student teacher from another country has been “A new experience – a bit more fun.”. Emma B enjoyed learning about schooling in Chicago – “Miss Brewer did a big powerpoint to show us what it was like and gave us tasks to do…we learned about Will’s Tower and the schools she was in before here…they have different desks,… where they put their school bags,… they don’t wear uniforms…” and Sophie T said that Marjorie has taught them “strategies like Venn diagrams … when she needs quiet, she says “To infinity” and we shout “and BEYOND!”

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Antionette said “It’s been a super experience. Listening and hearing about other methodologies and the ways that things are structured in America has had the kids fascinated. It’s not that different, but it’s nice for them to hear how children of the same age learn.”

Marjorie has been made very welcome by her ” homestay mom” Morag Duff, learning support teacher at St Patrick’s. Morag took Marjorie to see some of our local sights, and Marjorie will continue her travels once her placement at St Patrick’s RC PS ends. Marjorie has been keeping her own blog about her experience – click here to view.

 

Teaching and Learning linked to World War I

ww1-1 Teachers, early years officers, and pupils across Falkirk Children’s Services may be linking their learning at some point this year to the commemoration and centenary of World War 1. Education Scotland have published an update (click to view) with links to teaching and learning resources which might prove useful. Click here to visit Education Scotland “WWI in Scotland” blog where there are lots more valuable materials. In addition, by clicking here, you can access the Scottish Government’s WW1 Commemoration Panel which has a huge variety of links to very current events, information and media.

The picture above was taken from the collection housed in Falkirk Community Trust Archives based in Callendar House. Click this link to visit the Heritage – World War 1 section of the Trust website, and explore sources which provide a more local dimension. This includes the Laurieston School Album, and information about the Quintinshill Railway Disaster.

Please contact Yvonne McBlain yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk  if you would like to share your WWI Commemorative teaching and learning via this blog.

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.

BBC goes to Bonnybridge Primary School

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Council Education Service Support and Improvement team heard an item about Bonnybridge PS on Radio  Scotland on Tuesday 21st January 2014.  She was delighted to hear about P.6/7 from Bonnybridge Primary and their work with the BBC Commonwealth Class project. Michelle Cairns and her class worked on their debating skills and learned about issues and topics affecting countries within the Commonwealth.

The debates were fun and interactive and allowed the children to voice their opinions and thoughts appropriately. The project gave the pupils a fantastic platform for learning about tolerance, equality and working together in a real life context which will be valuable lifelong. Being part of this learning has had a huge impact on the children involved. The BBC contacted the class following their participation in previous debates, asking if they were happy to be filmed debating “in action” for the BBC.

The motion for the filmed debate was  homelessness in Commonwealth countries and how this related to the Commonwealth games. The children took part in a Skype call with a school in India in which they were able to ask questions and interact with another Commonwealth country. This experience enabled the children to see themselves as a part of the wider world and to really think about how they can contribute as global citizens. Click here to link to the television broadcast in BBC  Iplayer, here for the Good Morning Scotland radio piece, and have a look at the written piece here on the BBC website.

This interdisciplinary learning experience offered the children an opportunity to apply their debating, talking and listening skills within the Commonwealth context. It also offered them a valuable opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills through partnership working with the BBC. Isn’t it great to see Falkirk schools featuring so prominently in the media!

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.