Yvonne Manning , Principal Librarian, Service and School Improvement Team of Falkirk Council Education Service attended Larbert High School’s first Spelling Bee. It was an excellent event with pupils from S2 who overcame their nerves to stand on the stage in front of their peers and pupils from Kinnaird PS and Stenhousemuir PS to show their excellence in spelling. Award winning author Nicola Morgan, Larbert High School’s Patron of Reading, was there and her main message to us was that reading for enjoyment helps the brain to perform better! Nicola also presented prizes to the pupils.
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 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’.
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.
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Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been working with a number of Falkirk schools trialling the new materials contained in the Second Level Active Literacy pack.
Word lists are divided into 13 sets of the most common tricky words with 15 words in each set. Pupils are to choose five of their own spelling words to add to these sets.
Sharon is going to use the experiences and feedback from these trials at forthcoming training sessions for the new programme.
Which strategies did the pupils like best?
‘Two heads and two beds because it is easy to remember’
‘I like the two heads and the two beds because it rhymes’
‘Accommodation – the two cc’s are the heads and the two mm’s are the bed’
‘Climb the mountain because the M is in the middle of the word’
‘Climb because ‘M’ for mountain’
‘I like granny at the bus stop, it is easy to remember’
‘I think the granny at the bus stop with her four grand-children’
An overview twilight of the new Active Literacy programme is being held at Camelon Education Centre on 13th May from 4 til 5.30 where the new packs will be distributed.