Category Archives: Preschool/Kindergarten literacy

Autism and Aspergers

RakuKind

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Today, I thought I would post some very good ideas from Mark Hutton’s newsletter I subscribe to about children with Aspergers.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about some very simple – yet highly effective – parenting techniques for Aspergers children. There are many things you can do to help your child better understand the world, and in doing so, make everyone’s lives a little easier.

 

Remember, they are children just like the rest; they have their own personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes – they just need extra support, patience and understanding from everyone around them. Here are some simple – but very effective techniques:

• Begin early to teach the difference between private and public places and actions, so that they can develop ways of coping with more complex social rules later in life.
• Don’t always expect them to ‘act their age’ they are usually immature and you should make some allowances for this.
• Explain why they should look at you when you speak to them…. encourage them; give lots of praise for any achievement – especially when they use a social skill without prompting.
• Find a way of coping with behavior problems – perhaps trying to ignore it if it’s not too bad or hugging sometimes can help.
• In some young kids who appear not to listen – the act of ‘singing’ your words can have a beneficial effect.”

I will be posting more information on this topic about Autism and Aspergers, as I’m finding that in our schools, we are enrolling more children that are on this spectrum. Because of this, teachers, and parents, are needing more information and strategies to assist them when working with students with Aspergers and Autism.
 

 

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Developmental sequence in learning to read words

Method for learning and education.

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There are 4 levels that children progress through when learning to read words:

1. Linking spoken and written words – this is when children start to make the links between what they hear and what they see by  memorising certain parts of words, convert letters into a sound then a blend ie ‘sh’ or use the first part of the word together with meaning.

2. Recognising letter-groups and words – at this stage, children are beginning to learn how to actually recode a letter cluster as a sound pattern. This is when THRASS is a useful tool for students to use when working with words.

3. Reading words directly – Children at this stage are now reading words using their phonemic and orthographic knowledge. This is when they start to make analogies with words that they know. For example, if the unknown word is ‘lay’ they may remember the word ‘d + ay = day’ and use this word to help them problem solve the unknown word.

4. Reading words of two or more syllables – at this stage, children are now combining segments of words, manipulating stress patterns in words and recognising smaller words within words and base words.

Irlen Syndrome and Dyslexia- a mother’s reflection

Dyslexic vision

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*Posted by Deborah <http://www.myschool.com.au/profile/Deborah659> on September 14, 2010 at on myschool.com.au.

My son has struggled and repeated one year since he started school.  I was one of those parents, and some teachers as well, that kept saying “try harder, don’t be so lazy.”  His learning support teacher would not give up and part of me would not believe (or face) that maybe he was dyslexic.  He just didn’t fit the symptoms.  After some research, I came across the Irlen Diagnostic web site.  He fitted their checklist to a T. Long story short; some believe and some say it is BS; he was tested and it turned out that with coloured lenses and overlays he was able to read without difficulty; he has improved dramatically in school.  I will never forget the joy on his face when he first clearly read out a difficult passage without hesitation.  So don’t write your kids off; this is more common than you think.

Bullying

Bullying UK

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I think that we have all had some experience with bullying at some stage. Whether it be with ourselves when we were little or with our own kids. It’s something that should be taken seriously and should not be tolerated in our society. Trinidad Hunt has a wonderful activity you could use with your class about how to choose friends. I’ve pasted it on my blog as I feel it would be such a wonderful activity for you to do with your own children or if you are a teacher, do it with your class. Perhaps it could provide some inspiration for us as adults to take a look at those friends who are ‘poisonous’ to us. Let me know what you think.

This is the classroom activity that I designed, you can do the same with your class:

  1. Divide the class into teams of 4 or 5.
  2. Hand each team a large sheet of butcher or poster paper and a set of poster pens.
  3. Ask each team to draw a line down the middle of the sheet.
  4. Title the left column: Fake Friends
  5. Title the right column: Real Friends
  6. Ask the students to list the things makes a Fake Friend or a Real Friend
  7. Give the teams 12-15 minutes to fill their charts in.
  8. Have each team share their charts.  Based on the following guidelines.
    • Everyone must share something.
    • One person introduces each member of the team.
    • One person shares the process they went through to complete their discussion and the chart.
    • Two or three students share the material.
    • One person ‘wraps’ or reviews and ties together the presentation to close.

Close with a full room discussion on recognizing the difference between fake friends and real friends in real life and surrounding yourself with real friends.

Why do teachers have trouble throwing away books?

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

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At my school, we have an amazing new building we are moving in to. We had the big move this week and I observed some interesting behaviours during this time. One of them was the reluctance of teachers to throw away books that had definitely seen a better day and generally things that, well, you just shouldn’t keep any more. I don’t really know why teachers like to keep things. Maybe it’s just the idea that it might come in handy one day. I know myself that when I am in ‘Op Shops’ or at markets, I’m always thinking “oh, that would be good for school” and I usually buy it. What do you think? Do you like to hang onto things that really should be chucked out?

Teaching phonics

Read Write Inc. is a UK literacy teaching program based on synthetic phonics, developed by Ruth Miskin and published by Oxford University Press. Ruth Miskin is a former Head Teacher and a leading practitioner of synthetic phonics in the UK. The Read Write Inc. program was initially introduced in her own school, a disadvantaged school in East London. Following the success of the program in raising the achievement levels of the disadvantaged students at this school, the program has been commercially published and is now widely used in the UK and in other countries. Further information regarding the program can be found on the Read Write Inc. website at http://www.oup.com/oxed/primary/rwi/aboutrwi/ The training Workshops in Australia will be in January, with a Workshop in Queensland on the 20th to 21st January and one in Perth on 31st January to 1st February.

What do your students want from you?

Students on an activity

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Here is another excerpt from Trinidad Hunts’ blog. Check it out.

“Hopefully in your personal life you have worked out what you want from your partner, family or friends. I am sure you have worked out what you want from your manager or the school you work at. Have you ever taken the time to ask your students what they want? I have a wonderful exercise that I do with students. I divide the class into teams of 4 or 5. I give each team a large sheet of butchers paper and some colored markers. Then I ask them how their teachers can support them and help them achieve the results they want in their lives. Teams have 20 minutes to discuss the question and brainstorm or list their answers. When they are complete. I give each team 3-5 minutes to discuss and pick their top 5 items from the list. Each team then shares their results with the whole class. I have asked this question of students for many years and almost without exception I have gotten the following items in many of the teams’ top 5 items: 1.I want my teachers to know me by name. 2.I want my teachers to listen to me. 3.I want my teachers to respect me. 4.I want my teachers to take me seriously. I invite you to do this activity with your students to see what their answers are and how they align to my results. As the principal of a school, why not try this activity with your staff. I would go so far as preparing your own personal and private list of things you expect to be on the top 5 list. See how well you know your team, or how well you think you know your team. In the coming weeks – maybe even years – I will discuss the terms “listen to me”, “respect me” and “take me seriously”. These are vitally important concepts, that go the absolute heart of what it means to be a human being. You see if you are not listened to, respected or taken seriously, aren’t the people around you ignoring you? “

Relationship is Everything

Students at our campus

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I subscribe to this blog written by Trinidad Hunt. I thought I would share it with you.

“For the last 30 years I have been saying that Relationship is Everything! Today there is a growing body of evidence that supports the notion that student engagement begins with relationships. Students need to feel connected to the adults in their school environment. The more connected they feel the greater the positive impact this has on everything from academics to social and emotional behavior. So how do we do this? How do we make students the center of everything we do as we move through our busy day on campus? How do we help students feel connected to us and to every adult on the school grouds? The 3-6-9 Rule that I developed and deliver to every school community that I work in will help you. Teach it to every adult member of your school community and ask for committed practice of the 3-6-9 Rule from everyone on the team. When walking across the campus or standing in the hallways or office areas… 3 – Look up, smile and say hello to every person who passes within 3 feet (1 metre) of you. 6 – Look up, smile and nod at every person that passes within 6 feet (2 metres) of you. 9- Look up and nod at every person that passes within 9 feet (3 metres) of you. Let every adult on the campus know how important they are in the lives of students. Their connection on any given day and at any given moment could be what makes that students day! Invite everyone to have fun with this. Make it a game to see how many students you can connect with during the day. And of course, if you know their name use it! Students love to be acknowledged by their names!!”

THRASS – helping children to read, write and spell

english language

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THRASS is a wonderful program designed to help children learn the 44 phonemes of the English language. It is particularly useful for second language learners of English. The THRASS Phoneme Machine is a FREE computer programme that uses moving human lips to pronounce the sounds (phonemes) in hundreds of frequently used English words. An excellent resource for teachers, assistants and parents. www.phonememachine.com

 

Literacy Learning

Shockingly diverse kindergarten group in Paris

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We can use lots of everyday objects and things in our environment to help our children learn to read. For example, when we are at the shops or the bank or wherever, you could do the following:  Mum says, ‘We have to push to open the door. Look! The sign says PUSH.’ In this way, you are focusing your child’s attention on to the word ‘PUSH’. This will help them as they begin to recognise symbols that are meaningful to them such as letters, the words for signs in their street or at the shops. Later, they will learn to recognise the word ‘PUSH’ in lots of different places and this is very important for literacy learning.