Tag Archives: Education

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The Importance of the Home-School Partnership

Mr. Robertson's final projects in Children's L...

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•Home – School partnerships create opportunities for the development of shared understandings of learning.
•With this shared view, the student’s home and school experiences can be brought together to be built upon for further success in learning.
•This is especially significant in supporting children’s early literacy development.

How does the brain ‘see’ words?

The Children's Trust, Tadworth provides care, ...

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When learning to read, the brain has to learn to flip the words so that they appear right side up.

Renowned education expert Professor John Hattie has been appointed Director of research at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

John Hattie to head research unit at the University of Melbourne.

Renowned education expert Professor John Hattie has been appointed Director of research at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

Hattie is widely regarded as a leading education authority. His influential 2008 book, Visible Learning, is believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into what factors improve student learning.

Involving more than 80 million students from around the world and bringing together 50,000 smaller studies, the study found positive teacher-student interaction is the most important factor in effective teaching.

Currently a member of the Faculty of Education and Director of Visible Learning Labs at the University of Auckland, Hattie regularly advises governments in New Zealand, Australia and the US.

He has authored or co-authored 12 books and more than 500 papers, and said he is looking forward to supporting researchers in MGSE.

“There are so many excellent projects and people within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and it will be an exciting and enjoyable process to maximize their impact on education in Australia and beyond,” he said.

Do You Want to be a Great Teacher?

It’s that time of year when reports are due and teachers are busy finishing the testing of  their students. They are exhausted! I have a mantra that I like to say : ‘every day is a new day’. I really like that one because it works especially well when you have had a very bad day at school.  It was then that a timely article came to my inbox from D. Trinidad Hunt, and I thought I would share it at our next Literacy PLT. I’m also pasting it here for you. Have a look.

Jim Collins in his now classic book From Good to Great said the hardest leap to make is the leap from good to great. Collins was talking about making the leap as an organization. Yet the same thing can be applied to leadership in schools and in the classroom.

The longest mile seems to be the stretch from being good at what we do to becoming great at what we do. There is a tendency to accept good as ‘good enough’. But this will never make you a great teacher and great teachers are made not born. There is a choice involved and practice required.

The first step in this journey necessitates becoming aware of this tendency to accept good as ‘good enough’. When you feel you are a good teacher, reflect for a moment… has good become good enough? Are you settling for less than your personal professional best?

If you became a teacher, as I did, because of the love of children and a passion for learning, then you won’t settle for good. But how do you recognize the plateau of rest and status quo Vs reflection and preparation (to move to higher heights).

I can remember the moment that I confronted this place in my own life. I had taught for twenty years. I was tired of it. I wanted to quit. In truth, I had hit the wall! And the wall was the barrier between being a good teacher and moving up to the level of great.

There was another mountain peak before me and I knew that it would require all of my resilience, my grit and my commitment. It would require a critical eye, and authentic self-assessment. I would have to be brutally honest with myself about my inner feelings as well as my outer actions.

In fact, I would have to change and from my perspective at that time change took work! The stages I went through look like this:

Denial: In my mind I didn’t need to improve. I wanted to quit. It all looked too hard for me and I justified these feelings by saying it was time to change profession. I explained it as burn out. I denied that what might be up here was a breakthrough. If I admitted it, I might have to embrace the change and I was not ready to do that!

Acceptance: This is not the acceptance of a need to change. This was the beginning of a realization and an acceptance that something was going on with me. I started to become aware that something was trying to break through into consciousness. I sensed that there was a deeper message here. I began to feel that I needed to listen to it.

Willingness: Then came the stage of willingness. I was now willing to make a change. I was in the middle of a full teaching schedule and I wasn’t willing to leave all the people I was teaching in the lurch. So maybe, I thought, I better let go of my resistance and go with the flow, at least for the moment!

Decision: So I made a decision to put one foot in front of the other and really give it my all for the next six weeks.

Action: Having made this decision, I went to work. I taught with all my heart and at the end of the day I assessed my score on a metaphorical score card made of the questions below. I practiced my craft and I assessed my results with an intention to improve daily.

After six months I was renewed with the love of the game of teaching and I was getting better at it every single day. That’s when I realized that there is no arrival. Every day is a new day. Every mountain top reveals a view of another and even higher mountain behind it.

So here are a few mantras that have helped me continue my passage from good to great:

  • Put one foot in front of the other.
  • As I make a positive choice, that choice begins to remake me!
  • Remember to remember why I do what I do!
  • Gratitude is my attitude of choice!

Along with the mantras, here are a few questions that help me keep expanding and growing daily.  I invite you to ask these questions of yourself every day for 30 days. I guarantee that if you are honest and work at it, they will change your life.

  1. What have I done today that demonstrates being a true and great professional in my field?
  2. What have I done inadvertently that might demonstrate something different from this?
  3. What do I need to do differently tomorrow to more fully express my love for those I serve and my passion for my profession?

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?

Irlen Syndrome

I have some exciting news in regard to Irlen Syndrome. For those of you who don’t know about Irlen, stay tuned , as I will post more information about what it is etc later. But for now, the newsflash is  Stuart Ritchie, Psychology Department, The University of Edinburgh, has notified us that a chapter on dyslexia in an edited volume by the University of Edinburgh’s Sergio Della Sala entitled “Neuroscience in Education,” to be published in 2011 by Oxford University Press, will talk about Coloured Lenses and the Irlen Treatment.