I’m a huge advocate of technology; however, it would be mad to forget the one thing -well two actually- that consistently engages my pupils every day.... puppets!
I’ve recently moved from a Year 6 class to Year 2. This initially daunting move was made slightly easier by the realisation that KS1 would likely fall for the magic that the puppets were alive... I was wrong! For children to respect the puppets it is important for them to develop a trust. So, I decided to introduce the puppet to them. I retold the story about how we met. However, as I finished the story, one of my boys quite rightly pointed out that the ‘teddy’ on my lap had a hole in the back of its head where I controlled it with my hand.' Caught out by a 6 year old! What next...? As I came back from lunch, the children were just packing away some bits in the classroom due to it being too hot outside - Dubai school problems! That’s when I noticed it. The same child who previously caught me out, now retelling a story of how he knew the puppet and what their relationship was - got ‘em!
Do you like Marmite? You either grinned and licked your lips or you grimaced and shuddered, “NO!”, thinking of that brown sticky goo that belongs in the depths of the bin. I’d expect similar reactions if I asked you, “Do you like teaching Guided Reading through a carousel?”
When I hear the word ‘carousel’ used in the same sentence as reading, the hairs on my neck stand on end! Okay, that was a tad dramatic but reading is such an incredible and life-changing skill, so why are we stuck teaching it in a mundane way? I think the era of carousel activities is coming to an end, just like the 90s did. We may miss it but it might just be time to move on (S Club 7 you are still my fav!). I want to share with you a style of teaching reading that transformed my practice in the most wonderful way: WHOLE CLASS GUIDED READING.
Let’s get to it; here’s my Recipe for Whole Class Reading.
What does mastery and depth of knowledge actually look like and how can we promote it in a fun and engaging ways? To put it short, children should have a solid understanding of what they have learnt and be able to recall facts, use skills and understand concepts permanently. To allow children to develop this solid understanding, children should be using and applying and evaluating their learning. Here are our top 5 activities to promote mastery skills and deepen understanding in your classroom!
Questioning is key to learning and language development not just in Literacy but across the curriculum. However, Many parents and educators are unsure how to stimulate children’s oral language development in play and reading. One good method, often used in Speech development, is “levels of questioning”. These “levels of questioning” were developed by Blank, Rose and Berlin (1978). The questions move from concrete to abstract.
Understanding the complexity of questions can help in simplifying language or in appropriately challenging language skills. Children need to understand and respond to all these levels of questions to function easily within a nursery or Foundation Stage classroom. Ages given in brackets are averages. Some 2-year olds may cope with level 2-3 questions, while some four year olds may need questions simplified to level 1-2.
I am so please to see my latest e-mag published and being shared across the teaching community. Teaching is a passion of mine and it has been great collaborating with so many fantastic educators across the globe to bring this together.
There are so many great teachers out there, not just in the UK, sharing great contact across social media for free. A lot of CPD is both expensive and time consuming. One of my founding beliefs is that, as teachers, we should be working together and supporting each other to be the best that we can be. We know it can be tough, we know we work long hours, but by sharing positivity and engaging, exciting teaching ideas, we can change eduction one step at a time!
Social media, is a great resource to achieve this, however it can be difficult to find content that is of high quality and centred around the children. This is why I have pulled together the best content out there into this e-magazine, to broadcast the amazing teachers out there that are making a huge difference to the day to day lives of their children. They are inspirational! Enjoy reading!
Struggling for ideas for World Book Day?
Take a look at some of ours below, they might spark your imagination.
World Book Day?!? Why not make it a week?
Here at literacy W.A.G.O.L.L we love all things literacy and the thought of just a day to celebrate makes us a little sad so in our schools we take a full week off timetable and plan everything around our book. (Don’t worry, you can still get all areas of the curriculum covered just takes a little creativity) You can find examples at the end of this article.
Ben Parr has released this short video via Big Think with a focus on the psychology of attention. He identifies three types of attention: immediate, short, and long. To capture someone's attention you have to see these three as stages into a person's subconscious. But how does this translate into the classroom?
As the UK Government announces its plans to recruit and retain teachers, schools have turned their focus on developing staff wellbeing. The interpretation of this 'wellbeing' can differ dramatically from school to school. Leaving chocolate on staff desks and weekly yoga sessions are all valiant efforts of improving teacher moral but the true key to wellbeing is by not adding yoga mats to your resources order.
When surveying and speaking to the staff in my school on staff moral and wellbeing, it all boils down to workload and time. Improving teacher retention and growing wellbeing is the act of refining and streamlining school approaches and processes so that time is used effectively and purposefully. In turn, this will also change the teachers' mindsets and may allow them to support their own wellbeing too.
Does your sticker chart some how not work? Do you find yourself focusing far too much on the bad behaviour and not enough time on the good? Behaviour management can be a tricky thing to grasp, particularly when you have a challenging group of children. hOWEVER, SOMETIMES IT IS THE LITTLE TWEAKS YOU MAKE TO THE SYSTEMS YOU HAVE IN PLACE WHICH CAN MAKE A big DIFFERENCE TO THE BEHAVIOUR OF YOUR CHILDREN. We have five tips on how you can adjust your approach to behaviour which can have a major impact!
As the digital world grows, so do the opportunities. Although there are plenty of paid applications and websites that provide exciting resources for children, there are also a number of free resources around the World Wide Web that offer free virtual trips around the world. This opportunity allows children to explore environments and locations they perhaps will never see in real life - and with new experiences, come new writing opportunities. Here are 5 of the best!