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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Feedback was positive with colleagues expressing thanks for the opportunity to see the whole programme across all stages.
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.
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.”
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
- 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.
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’.
Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, along with Class teachers and pupils, carried out an Active Literacy Parental Awareness Workshop at Deanburn Primary School.
Pupils participated in an overview of the strategies and methodologies relating to Active Literacy before engaging parents in an active workshop.
Pupils used the Reciprocal Teaching method to engage their parents in activities such as: spell-er-cise, fun spelling tasks, Elkonin boxes, diacritical marking and dictated sentences.
Parental feedback was collected by P7 pupils.
‘What did you like about the Active Literacy Workshop?’
- Very informative session will definitely use some of those ides with my son
- Very useful workshop has gave me a greater understanding of my daughter’s learning journey when she starts P.1
- It was good to get to see what kind of activities go on in schools in Falkirk council
- I have a much better understanding of literacy and thought it was very intelligent of the children how they explained it
‘Which ideas or advice will you use to support your child?’
- I will use the recipe checking together and the list making for shopping and packing bags
- I will read more to my children even they are older
- Very informative, especially diacritical marking #
- I will try and make up stories in the car with my son
- I loved it
- I will get them to think of unusual ways to learn tricky words (e.g. mnemonics or words within words)
Parents took way Active Literacy leaflets which contain a glossary of terms, useful websites and lots of great ideas to support literacy activities at home.
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.
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.
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’.