Tag Archives: active literacy

Active Literacy Podcasting

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, and Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer, in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services, presented a professional development course for school staff on Active Literacy at second level using podcasting to develop talking and listening, reading and writing skills. This is part of a series of three courses examining how literacy skills can be developed using ICT. Other courses in this series are: ‘Using fakebook, twister and email to develop summarising skills’ and ‘Using animation tools to support writing skills’.

Section three of the reading for second level Active Literacy programme is ‘Using media to develop higher order literacy’ and this course is part of a series of CPD opportunities for teachers at this level. Other courses in this series are: Using fakebook, twister and email to develop summarising skills and using animation tools to develop literacy skills.

The course looked at ways in which using ICT as a tool facilitates, supports and develops confident and accurate literacy to add value to all aspects of Literacy Across Learning. It explored ways teachers can plan for opportunities to use digital technologies to enhance and contribute to overall meaning, communication and understanding of texts. It examined ways in which talking and listening, reading and writing skills can be developed using podcasting.

What is podcasting?

•A podcast is a digital audio and/ or video site that can be accessed using any computer that can play media files using recording software such as audacity

•Podcasting involves pupils in recording and broadcasting

•Broadcasting allows pupils to listen, watch, discuss and analyse the content of the material.

Listen to the audio links below to hear the different verses of a poem, as an example of how audio files can be shared on a class blog.

Participants on the course were all very positive stating they were going to use ideas gained at the session immediately.

Verse 1

Verse 2

Verse 3

Verse 4

Verse 5

Verse 6

Free Audacity software for creating and editing audio

Audacity is free software to download which lets users record and edit audio in order to create mp3 files for use on websites, blogs, podcasts or anywhere online. Audacity lets users combine multiple tracks (to include music, sound efftecs and voices) and to add shorter sound segments together to create longer audio files. Audacity also lets users edit out unwanted sounds, re-order a sequence of sounds, add a whole host of effects to sound (including changing pitch, adding echo, and much more). Click here for more information about Audacity (including resources showing how to use it).

Royalty-free sound-effects and music for adding to podcasts

Schools are often looking for royalty-free sound-effects and music for multimedia presentations – music or sound effects which pupils and staff can use in their podcasts (or videos, stop-motion animations, online or Powerpoint presentations). And of course they wish to ensure that they are not infringing the rights of others so look for free sources of music and sound effects where permission to use for school projects has been granted by the creators. Click here for sources of royalty-free music and sound-effects free to use in school podcasts.

Alternative online tools for hosting audio files/podcasting

There are online spaces specifically set up for hosting podcasting, some of which are specifcally suitable for school use. So while school websites and class blogs can easily host audio files you may wish to consider using a tools specifically set up for podcasting hosting and sharing.  Click here for links to some of these online podcasting tools.

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.

Active Literacy – Stirling University Input

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered an input to 45 second year ITE students at Stirling University. The session was based around Active Literacy and covered the following aims:

  • To provide an overview of active approaches to literacy in the Early Years
  • To outline key strategies and methodologies used for effective teaching and learning
  • To examine ways forward for the student teachers careers to incorporate active approaches to literacy 

Sharon provided these students with an overview of how Falkirk Council are meeting the literacy needs of our pupils from early to second level.

The students developed their knowledge and awareness of spelling and phonics strategies such as: five finger strategy, Elkonin boxes, diacritical marking, mnemonics, words within words, syllabification and compound words.

The active literacy animation for parents was shared, as well as Falkirk Council’s Literacy Strategy online support tool blog.

Sharon provided the students with an overview of the phoneme programme for each year group and how the 40 phonemes are covered across P1-3. Students used the reciprocal teaching method to work with a range of phoneme words to see how these are taught in Falkirk establishments.

There was an overview given of the six reading comprehension strategies and Sharon used the text ‘The Gruffalo’ to exemplify how each strategy can be used with this picture book.

The session concluded with the students reflecting on what they had learned, how this new knowledge impacts on their beliefs and understandings and what their next steps will be.

Probationers Experience Active Literacy

 Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Team has delivered Active Literacy training this week to all primary probationer teachers in Falkirk.

The two sessions covered the range of strategies and methodologies used across all stages to develop skills in all areas of literacy.

The probationers enthusiastically participated in activities including a spelling test to highlight how we draw on our own phonological awareness, knowledge of spelling rules and phonemes to spell words. They also put a series of words into Elkonin boxes examining the 40 phonemes in the Active Literacy programme.

Sharon provided the primary probationers with a full overview of the programme from early to second level. They developed their knowledge of phonemic awareness, spelling strategies including: mnemonics, words within words and syllabification. Colleagues are aware of how the five finger strategy, effective use of resources such as Smart notebook tools, magnetic boards and letters and reciprocal teaching can enable pupils to become better spellers. Evidence is showing that pupils are transferring their knowledge of phonemes to other types of writing in different situations.

Sharon also explained how the six key comprehension reading strategies are used across a range of ‘texts’. Probationer teachers discussed the reading skills they are currently developing with their classes and how the six key comprehension strategies supports this development.

In terms of writing, Sharon provided colleagues with an overview of the seven different genres and how these should be addressed across the course of the year.

Sharon also shared the new Active Literacy for parents animation.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/TnXMSAcKcCo" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]Feedback so far has been very positive and has included:

“Thanks very much for the course. I feel really enthusiastic and excited to try out the Active Literacy strategies in class.”

Active Literacy – P6/7 Training

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has carried out Active Literacy training over the past two weeks with 54 teachers. The two three hour sessions examined the writing programme incorporating spelling and the reading programme.

Session one looked at how teachers can support pupils in becoming independent spellers. Pupils are taught strategies to use their previously learned knowledge of phonemes and spelling rules to more complex, polysyllabic words.

 The course examined the programme for spelling strategy work, alongside the new addition of ‘vocabulary building’, homophones and common confusions. Trials of the programme so far indicate that pupils are really enjoying the investigation element of prefixes and suffixes and how these affect the meaning of words.

The session also examined the writing genres covered at second level looking at incorporating writing trios, chunking, use of genre success criteria and next steps.

Session two focused on the development of the six key comprehension strategies across a range of texts. These strategies are:
1. Prior knowledge and prediction
2. Metalinguistics
3. Visualisation
4. Inference
5. Main ideas
6. Summarising and paraphrasing.

Sharon demonstrated how to develop these skills using a traditional ‘novel’ text, moving image (film trailer) and a poem. The course also looked at using online tools such as Powtoon, go animate and twixster to develop reading skills.

Colleagues were given a ‘Stories Allways’ resource containing a range of Scottish myths and legends as well as two CDs. This is a great resource as it provides pupils with a range of challenging questions, tasks and a synopsis of each tale.

Colleagues enthusiastically participated in a range of Active Literacy activities across the course of the two sessions and feedback so far has been really positive.

“The course was delivered extremely well by Sharon Wallace and the resources provided were very useful.”

“The course was presented over 2 days in which it provided an overview of the key methodologies and strategies as outlined in North Lanarkshire’s Active Literacy 6/7 programme. I thought all aspects of the course were useful and it enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the 6/7 programme which I will now be able to confidently implement in the classroom.”

“I am new to teaching as well as the Active Literacy programme. I had very little knowledge and understanding prior to the course however I now feel I can confidently implement active literacy in the classroom.”

“Sharon is a very enthusiastic presenter and it is clear that she wholly believes in the Active Literacy Programme. Her passionate delivery and ideas instil in you, the confidence to have a go in your own classroom.”

Active Literacy Workshop for Parents and Carers

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has developed some helpful materials to support Falkirk establishments in sharing the learning at home. This active literacy workshop provides parents, carers and extended families with an overview of the active literacy strategies and methodologies from P1 to P7. It looks at the areas of spelling and phonics, reading and writing and how children can be supported with these at home.

Parents and carers are also invited to be ‘reciprocally taught’ by their children in a series of different workshop activities which include:

  • phoneme stories
  • Elkonin boxes
  • rainbow writing
  • spell-er-cise
  • diacritical marking
  • fun spelling tasks

So far this session, the following schools have already hosted workshops:

  • Maddiston Primary
  • Shieldhill Primary
  • Kinneil Primary

 

These workshops are accompanied by parental leaflets aimed at P1-3, P4-5 and P6-7 parents.

For more information, please contact Sharon Wallace.

Sharing the Learning with Parents and Carers at Shieldhill Primary School

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has recently been working with a group of children from P2 to P4 in Shieldhill Primary School. The children were very enthusiastic and keen to be helping out at an upcoming session for parents and carers. Pupils demonstrated their knowledge of active literacy strategies and methodologies with confidence. They are very much looking forward to being ‘reciprocal teachers’ to their visitors at the active literacy workshop.

The children were able to eloquently explain about a range of strategies including: the five finger strategy, Elkonin boxes and diacritical marking.

Other activities on the agenda for the workshop are spell-er-cize, fun spelling tasks for their common/ tricky words and looking at their favourite ‘texts’.

Active Literacy for P6/7/S1 – New Online Support Materials

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team, has been working on a number of new CPD training support videos for Active Literacy.

These short video sessions are aimed at Second level, however some of the materials can be adapted and applied to earlier stages.  

Sharon has recorded nine short videos for ‘Reading’ including using film trailers, critical analysis, non-fiction analysis and moving image education. There are two sessions relating to spelling and these include the new spelling section and vocabulary building which explores homophones and affixes. There is one training session called ‘Developing Writing at Second Level’ and this looks at incorporating a range of different genres, as well as the use of mixed ability writing trios and effective conferencing to improve writing skills.

 These short animation videos are part of a series of CPD online sessions which range from P1 to S1.[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/gvXEPThdi2c" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]