Imagine a friday night. You sit down with your glass of wine and think I will just check in with facebook and twitter and then stop working. And then, twitter manages to show you something that you think about all weekend. An idea so inspiring that even when you are choosing the oranges in Tescos you are thinking – How could I use this?
Hats off to St Peters in Bournemouth! What an exciting place to work and to be a student. The blog post Pimp my Classroom: 8 ways to confuse the cleaner was what set me off, in particular the images from No.4 The Expert’s Bedroom and the timeline displayed at the top of the post. What I have thought about all weekend is how could I use them and so, DPSCITT trainees, I have come up with some ways.
respond in the book by drawing, doodling and reflecting. I think the timeline may do the same. It is created as a small, fan folded piece of card in an envelope. This I love! After much thought, I think I can best use this when we look at reading and explore children’s literature. We could make a timeline of significant children’s authors with links to current authors, e.g. if you like this, then you might also like this. Amazon does this nowadays and it is the very essence of a good bookshop and school library. It is what teachers need to do to encourage and broaden children’s reading experiences.
It is The Expert’s Bedroom that I am most excited about.
Imagine what a particular person’s bedroom looked like when they were a child. I think that this great idea could be used as an outcome for an author study. Imagine what the bedroom of Eric Carle as a child would be like. This is exactly what I intend to do with the trainee teachers, and then create it! Through this activity we can explore Eric Carle but we can also discuss how to negotiate setting up role play areas with children and how we can use challenges to alter their play in the space.
The images are organised as a timeline and tell the story as you go round. I still can’t tell how they created the wardrobe on the doorway though! I might not be able to create that part.
Hello Mr Hulot by David Meveille is a wonderful wordless book that made me laugh out loud and I don’t often do that.
The book is strongly patterned in terms of the way that the pictures are framed – 4 to 6 frames on the first page followed by a one page frame when you turn over. It is this that lends the book to being used in guided reading. It would be very good to use a reciprocal reading type session where the children predict from the first page and then draw what they think the last image would be after having studied The Heart of Paris and Hulot the Plumber. The children could then generate questions that can be answered by the text and summarise it.
See a YouTube version here. This book is going on our guided reading list for level 4 readers.
We have been on the lookout for a book that has a good set of instructions for KS1 and look what turned up from Amazon this evening!
This set of instructions sets out how to wash a woolly mammoth with a great sense of humour. I love the back cover with the bottles of shampoo and soap such as Tusk Whitener and Antibacterial Hoof Wash.
The instructions reassure the owner of the mammoth that they can wash the animal with a few clever tricks. Step three just says ‘Add mammoth.’ and is then followed by a series of images showing ways in which the mammoth can be encouraged into the bath using a broom or a spooky mask. This page lends itself to children writing a series of sentences to explain what is happening in the images.
The voice of the text is informative ‘ Don’t forget to wash behind those ears….’ and ensures the owner undertakes this task successfully ‘CAREFUL – a mammoth’s tummy is terribly tickly!’
I love the hair styles that the little girl makes when she washes his topknot – a mammoth mullet anyone?
I wondered about using this book with The Night Zookeeper where children could make their own imaginary animal and then write a set of instructions about caring for it in some way. This could be washing it but it could also be feeding, exercising or clipping it. Maybe that last one isn’t really for KS1 children! I was getting carried away by the TV programme that showed competitive poodle clipping and colouring.
This is one title that will end up in our Teaching Sequence subscription service based on the new national curriculum. These are the titles that we have written teaching sequences. More will be added to the list as we write them.
Many people will be aware of Haylock and Cockburn’s connective model of learning in mathematics. It is based on the idea that a developing
understanding is constructed through making connections between what we already know/experience and new knowledge and experiences.
If we cannot make connections then we have to resort to trying to learn by rote. The more connected are our experiences, the more secure and the more useful is the learning. (Haylock with Thangata)
The four aspects of this diagram are linked by arrows in all directions which represent the talk that is the means by which children make the connections. When reading this, I was struck by the similarity with grammar teaching and learning. Debra Myhill’s literature reveiw of grammar teaching identified elements necessary for effective learning. Myhill talks about looking at grammar in context, offering the children patterns or models to base their ideas around. Without this, grammar becomes a very abstract idea and leads to misunderstandings. In very simplified terms this can be shown by the fact that when looking at word classes we don’t say that a word belongs to a particular word class, e.g light is a noun. It could be used as a verb, noun or adjective depending upon the context it is in.
The language in the model is about the technical terminology so we call a verb a verb rather than a doing word. This means that when children are talking and investigating a particular aspect of grammar we are using the terminology and actively encouraging them to name it in their talk, not as rote learning but as a way of describing what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve.
The images is an interesting aspect because we don’t have images for grammar but we could! The idea behind our Sentence Toolkit is that for each element we have a real tool that provides a way of linking what can sometimes be quite an absract idea to a concrete one. For example, we use a tape measure for expanded noun phrases and as we model ways of making noun phrases, we stretch our tape measure. This then brings in the fourth element which is an action. Here the stretching symbolises what is happening when we modify the nouns. Hammering our fist into our palm when we hear verbs reflects the necessity for a verb in a sentence and indicates where it is.
All of this brings us to our connective model of grammar learning. We have the context, terminology, symbol and action all connected by talk. Without all the elements, the connections will be shallower and the learning less useful to the children.
It provides us with a useful model that enables us to build rich learning experiences for children that will help them develop their writing and pass the grammar test.
Most people have by now looked at the spelling and grammar expectations in the new curriculum and tests. Spelling’s time has finally come! Anecdotal evidence suggests that those schools who were disappointed with their grammar and spelling test results in the summer often cited the spelling element of the test as the area that needs development. In fact the spelling results went from 14% of the marks uner the old regime to 29% of the marks in the GaPS test.
Back at Literacy Headquarters we have been working away at this aspect of the new curriculum for some time and have finally managed to share the resources that we have created. (All can be found here.) We are recommending that KS2 will need at least 15 X 15 minute spelling sessions each half-term. The further away from the age-related expectations, the more spelling you will need, so the fifteen sessions are just a starting point.
First, we have produced a term by term pathway through the spelling for each year group. You will know that the objectives in the curriculum are in one big bundle for Yrs3 and 4 and Yrs5 and 6 and so what Angela has done is to decide how to divide these up . This suddenly makes the spelling curriculum look more manageable. Included in the pathway are signposts to resources and ways of teaching elements that are included in The Spelling Bank and Support for Spelling.
Secondly, we have now started to think about the pattern of teaching across the fifteen sessions. We are continuing to use the revisit/review, teach, practise and apply structure introduced in Support for Spelling because it is a familiar structure to those moving from kS1 to KS2. However, in KS2 each element is taught on a different day rather than all occurring in one session. To make this clear we have now created a day to day pathway for the spring term of each year group. (Click on term 2 to find the planning for each year group) As for all of the above, these are only suggestions and can be changed and moved around to suit your class.
There are certain elements that appear in each year group:
rare grapheme/phoneme correspondences (GPCs)
prefixes and suffixes
word endings (that are not suffixes)
learning and remembering spellings
This means that it is very easy to differentiate across a class be it single or mixed age. The whole class can be working on homophones but different ones can be used for particular groups of children.
Finally, Sandra has created an excel spreadsheet that analyses the spelling results of the test. So if you plan to give your children the spelling test from the 2013 paper, you can now analyse the results and identify areas to focus on in your teaching.
We hope that this will get you started. If you use the resources, let us know what you think.
It is such a long time since I last blogged. Basically, I have been so busy I haven’t even had time to think, never mind write. That isn’t changing but I hate not having time to think about things and develop them, and I know blogging allows me to do that so – time to blog again!
Today we ran our first level 6 reading course. It has been an interesting journey over the last few years as far as level 6 is concerned: more children achieving level 6 in writing than in reading in primary schools, a pattern not seen at other levels. We think there are more level 6 readers than writers, they are just not used to writing in the way they need to to pass the test.This has led us to consider why and what we need to do about it.
We introduced the burger of response as a way of supporting children to think about responding to texts. In fact wehen Becca and I get together we often link what we are doing to food. We already had the doughnut of inference and now we have the burger . Imagine our disappointment when @RTDurant , our secondary colleague, told us that secondary schools have been using it for some time!
This led us to thinking about the texts that we use with level 6 readers. We came to the conclusion that there needs to be an emphasis on trying out the skills on a wide range of texts and that means that we can’t always work with longer novels, but need to use shorter texts. Poetry is an excellent way in as are short stories. Not extracts though! Other resources that may help are our texts for level 6 readers independent reading.
If you are in a primary school, what are you doing for level 6 readers? We would love to know.
Thanks to Pie Corbett, we have been talking about swag bags/books and magpie-ing for some time now as a support for writing. Swag books or magpie books are basically journals to collect ideas in but up until now there has been very little sharing of what they could look like.
Jackie Morris (she of Tell Me a Dragon, I am Cat and Ice Bear amongst many others) posted on her blog about journals and what writing journals look likefrom many well-known authors. It would be a great idea to share these with children, discussing what the authors do in them and how they set them out.
Ideas that stand out are writing on the right-hand side and revising on the left-hand side of the journal. This would be a great way for children to show how they are improving their writing and so much easier to see than writing squashed in on the same line as the original. I also loved the lists of rolling ryhmes that Dylan Thomas used. Children could have their own lists of words and phrases to use when needed. I particularly liked the fact that they were hanging in his sight line so were easy to use. Roz Maine using the whole of a very large table to plan a book will be a very familiar sight to many primary school classrooms.
So many of these journals have sketches in them, some have paintings, cartoons and items collected and stuck in.
Here in a second post, Jackie shares her first journals when she thought she might like to be a writer. I love the first ones in a diary, page-a-day. It really shows that discipline of writing a little every day regardless of how you are feeling. It reminds me of a quote from Neil Gaimon about waiting for inspiration.
If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written. From Brainpickings
Being a bit of a stationery fan, I was interested to see what types of books were used. I think it matters that they feel pleasing and so really like these from Notebookism. And it matters because if we want children to use writing journals, then we must model using them and be prepared to share them.
Are you using writing journals in an interesting way?
I have recently been reading quite a few blog posts about staff meetings and what people really hate about them. Lots of things judging by this blog postand the comments below!
As someone who leads quite a few staff meetings and non-pupil days, this set me thinking. Over the summer holidays I remember hearing about a hospital trust who started to invite patients in to their meetings to tell their storyabout their visit and treatment at the hospital. They did this by filming patients and it had a significant impact on those in the meeting and their understanding of what they do from a patients point of view. It led to dramatic changes in the way in which they approached certain types of care and treatment.
This made me wonder if we should be inviting past pupils to talk to us on film about their time in school, those that did well and those that struggled for whatever reasons. I would love to know what was memorable for them, what they found the most useful , what didn’t work and why. I was in tears listening to the woman on the radio talking about her treatment and care and why it didn’t work. I would be as emotional listening to children who told me what hadn’t worked in school.