- Teacher 1 Insights: How much I've been inspired - can't wait for Monday! I've also been encouraged to continue some of my work as I now feel confident I'm on the right track. I try to integrate the different areas of maths and I do draw lots of diagrams on the whiteboard. Translation to Action: Open ended questions to begin maths sessions. To ask more questions and to get the kids to do more thinking. Further support needed?: Session 2. Will buy the books.
- Teacher 2 Insights: Very subtle changes in thinking, and how to talk to students. Translation to Action: Set up key words in my room. Change how I add words to my Word Wall. 20 word reflection.
- Teacher 3 Insights: How to support children in understanding relationships between % fractions and decimals. Translation to Action: As a TRT I can use these activities as evidence for class teachers - and 'where to next?' for my own adventure!. Further support needed?: More of the same. Many thanks!
- Teacher 4 Insights: How to structure open-ended activities. Keywords. Planning guide re abilities. Translation to Action: Start implementing these tasks to engage and cater for student abilities. Further support needed?: Literacy - writing lesson/teaching strategies for struggling writers.
- Teacher 5 Insights: Lessening the control in teaching. How to extend the one task by offering a question/nudge. Translation to Action: Next ... Fishbowl planning - look back in resources for planning. Further support needed?: List of warm-up activities and open-ended problems/activities for Number, Measurement and Data. Loved it! Thank you.
- Teacher 6 Insights: So many different ways to do things that are just fun! Don't be afraid. Translation to Action: Will be actually doing these activities and watching the way kids react/interact and learn. Further support needed?: Further sessions will be attended. These ideas are just so cross-age appropriate.
- Teacher 7 Insights: Fun open ended activities are easy to plan and differentiate. Translation to Action: Adapted/Used within a range of year levels. Further support needed?: More please!
- Teacher 8 Insights: A greater understanding of how to teach Maths more effectively as opposed to stumbling through and glazing over key points/teachable moments. Further support needed?: How to transfer these into a secondary setting, and keep it enjoyable and fun.
- Teacher 9 Insights: Confidence in creating/delivering differentiation. Ways to think creatively. Translation to Action: I have use all learning from a past (Rob) session in my teaching. Will use and adapt to suit the needs of my students. Further support needed?: Will continue to attend Rob's sessions and access the website etc. Great work Rob! I will continue coming to your sessions!
- Teacher 10 Insights: Great ways to use open ended tasks. Translation to Action: Great initial assessments and whole class engagement options, plus lesson activities that allow us to get in and work with kids. Further support needed?: Multi step word problem solving. Strategies and examples to draw on.
On Saturday 2nd June teachers from Department for Education, Catholic Education and Independent schools attended our 'Catering For All Maths Abilities R-7' Master Class. There was some very positive feedback from participants on their key learnings/ insights gained from the session. Rob Vingerhoets, a very experienced principal, teacher and presenter, engaged, informed and entertained for 4 hours. Here is a selection of the feedback from teachers:
On Saturday 19th May teachers from Department for Education and Catholic Education schools attended our 'Word Work in Action' Master Class. There was some very positive feedback from participants on their key learnings/ insights gained from the session. Denise Alderman (UniSA) and Sharon Callen (Teachific Literacy), both very experienced teachers and presenters, engaged, informed and entertained for 3 and a half hours. Here is a selection of the feedback from teachers:
Although quality professional development for teachers is the best money for literacy progress that can be spent in your school, you may be looking at purchasing a certain literacy program. That's where the following matrix comes in.
Use it in discussions with colleagues about how a particular program qualifies as a quality initiative for your school.
The Commission on Reading of the National Council of Teachers of English regularly undertakes projects to broaden discussion of important literacy issues and to provide support for teachers as they make informed instructional decisions. Commission members developed the matrix that follows in response to requests from NCTE members for sound, standards-aligned criteria to apply as they select program materials or design local programs of instruction in reading. It is intended to be used as part of professional discussion among colleagues.
See the attached.
with Rob Vingerhoets
Come and enjoy two fabulous, thought provoking numeracy sessions by a master presenter. Then enjoy the afternoon in beautiful Stirling!
Following on from his highly successful numeracy master classes for teachers and leaders all over Australia, Rob presents two highly engaging sessions at St Catherine's School Stirling on Saturday 24th June. Rob's sessions are always thought provoking, 'hands on' and fun, with practical ideas to make every lesson a success. He has modelled lessons in SA classrooms with great effect, as he has in schools across Australia.
Saturday 24th June, 9.00am-1pm, St Catherine's School Stirling
(Two sessions in one!)
10% Discount rate for relief teachers. 10% discount for groups of three or more teachers from the same school.
(Enjoy visiting fabulous Stirling afterwards)
The apps 'Take 10 Mindful Minutes' and 'Take 5 Mindful Minutes' were created by mindfulness practitioner , educator & counsellor Frances Kelly. The Lakes Rotary Club of Mt Gambier supported this project by funding the initial app development process so these apps could then be available for FREE download worldwide .
So far these apps have been downloaded in over 100 countries ... and in their many thousands ...
'Take 10 Mindful Minutes' is aimed at 10+ year old users and ' Take Five Mindful Minutes' at aged 3-10 year olds . The apps, both Apple and android, are advertising free with no add-ons, and once downloaded require no internet use . Also available FREE and for general use are two more apps 'Mindfulness Getting started ' and 'Mindfulness Caring for me' both made available by their creator, Frances Kelly.
Go to: http://www.cuelearning.com.au/mindfulness-resources.html
Students at Salisbury High School are demonstrating their postcode in Adelaide's disadvantaged north is no barrier to academic success and achievement. A record 15,003 South Australians achieved their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) in 2016, which included every Year 12 student at Salisbury High School. Eight merits were awarded to Salisbury's Year 12s, and student Sariah Howell finished with a perfect 99.95. Salisbury's graduating class includes several students from culturally-diverse backgrounds, whom the school said had achieved results that would have been impossible in their home countries.
There has been a major shift in the teachers' pedagogical practices at the school in the past few years. Cue Learning worked closely with leadership and 32 teachers in their classrooms in the 5 years leading up to these outstanding SACE results. A recent report by Salisbury High School on our Cue Learning Master in Residence work from 2011-2015, shows the impact of our work. See the report below.
It's great to know that improving literacy results in your school doesn't mean buying the latest published programs, subscriptions or interventions. Research shows that none of these are as important as having some basic literacy elements operating in your school, with some good guidance on how they can operate in day to day lessons.
We have been working long term in a number of South Australian schools, showing leaders and teachers how the purposeful and effective teaching of literacy combined with access to 'high success' texts (that are already in every school library) can greatly improve outcomes for students. Teachers are amazed how changes in their teaching approach can so enthuse their students, affect results, and so improve their their own satisfaction as teachers. A common cry from teachers we work with is, 'I wish we had learned all these things 20 years ago.'
With knowledge of the research, and ways to powerfully apply that research, change is lasting and effective.
What is the research?
Richard Allington and Rachael Gabriel outline six elements for every child, that should be occurring for them every day. These can be implemented in any school without any additional funds.
We will outline each of the six elements in coming blogs and how we have applied them in schools.
Six Elements for Every Child
1 Every child reads something he or she chooses
Texts need to be readily available and students need to become powerful selectors of what they read.
"The experience of choosing in itself boosts motivation. In addition, offering choice makes it more likely that every reader will be matched to a text that he or she can read well. If students initially have trouble choosing texts that match their ability level and interest, teachers can provide limited choices to guide them toward successful reading experiences. By giving students these opportunities, we help them develop the ability to choose appropriate texts for themselves—a skill that dramatically increases the likelihood they will read outside school (Ivey & Broaddus, 2001, Reis et al., 2007)."
Research has in fact demonstrated that access to self-selected texts improves students' reading performance (Krashen, 2011), whereas no evidence indicates that workbooks, photocopies, or computer tutorial programs have ever done so (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998; Dynarski, 2007).
Application in schools
We have supported schools in setting up classroom libraries, where students have input in selecting the texts. The texts can come from the existing library, book sales, internet, homes, simply wherever they can be found. They can be in the form of books, comics, big books, magazines, poems or songs printed on cards etc. Students help to categorise the texts into groupings (e.g. baskets) that are of interest to their class. 'Paul Jennings', 'Scary Stories', 'Humour' are some category examples. The chosen texts become a part of the literacy culture of that classroom. Students can share their successful experiences with those texts and other students can easily access those texts to have the same successful experiences.
We will expand on the other 5 elements in future blogs.
'Children in classrooms without classroom libraries read 50% less than children without such collections'
A diverse and comprehensive classroom library is essential for your classroom, especially for those students from homes where there is little access to what we call 'high success' or 'just right' books (98% accuracy or above). Involve your students in working out the categories of books and provide a range of reading levels within that category, so every student can have success. For example, a basket of Paul Jennings books can include the easier to read 'Rascal' series, plus his books for older readers. Have your class re-sort the book categories at the end of the term, so those Paul Jennings books may end up in a 'Funny Stories' basket etc. Include baskets with magazines, graphic novels, wordless picture books etc. The possibilities are endless!
Read aloud to your students every day, knowing that these books can often be above the decoding ability of your students, and inspire their imaginations, When you have finished reading a book to the class, place it in a 'Teacher's Choice' basket, which can be another category in your classroom library.
A classroom library can also include levelled books, but without the emphasis on the numbering system! The numbering system was only ever designed for teachers to match the readability of books to certain students. Unfortunately it has caused a great deal of grief in some cases as children compete (sometimes encouraged by parents) to read higher and higher levels without understanding and without the love of reading. Sadly, many students have never had the opportunity to develop good book selection strategies - something that should start in Reception and continue to be taught into the upper grades! They rely heavily on the numbering system to help them choose.
Have your students take 15 books to their table and narrow this down to 5. Model the strategies they can use to narrow down the selection (Max Kemp). Have them share the strategies that were successful.
A classroom library can look quite different from one classroom to another!
What is independent reading?
Plan for at least 20 minutes of independent reading a day. This is not just silent reading, it is reading where students have used good selection strategies to find a 'high success' book, and are held accountable for the reading they are doing e.g. they can demonstrate/share newly taught strategies in their book. The student and teacher are actively assessing his/her progress daily.
The teacher uses a gradual release of responsibility model:
What is a good routine for independent reading?
What are some independent reading tools to use:
Make a 'Good Readers' chart for your classroom
For example (Year 2). Good readers know how to:
ENJOY GROWING YOUR INDEPENDENT READERS!
What did you think of the presenters/presentation?
What were some key learnings?
The Trial and Error (or Rehearsal) Principle
How often do we allow our students to rehearse their learning in the classroom? Why is rehearsal important? Boomer (1983) says, 'In my quest to reach competence, I play and experiment and practice parts and wholes. Removed from the eventual arena of action, often in strict privacy, I rehearse in my head, out loud and in action, aspects of that which I am learning. This is how I nut out my plans and develop the skills I need.
As a teacher, I must allow time and space for trial and error activity on operations and tasks dictated by the learners (or at least as I imagine the learners would dictate if they could articulate what they want).'
Under 'Develop Expert Learners' of the TfEL framework is 'Foster Deep Understanding and Skilful Action - the teacher helps students build rich conceptual knowledge and mastery of complex skills.'
Under 'Create Safe Conditions for Rigorous Learning' is 'Develop Democratic Relationships - the teacher shares power with students, recognizing it as a fundamental condition for learning.'
One way to take action on both of these at the same time is to develop the trial and error (or rehearsal) principle across multiple subject areas in your classroom.
For example, when I teach reading, I may use ongoing assessment of my students to determine that I need to focus on 'making predictions' with a small group or the whole class and use a shared text to do so (Big Book, Smartboard, Charts etc). But I then allow students to practice these newly learned skills within their own books or reading materials that interest them.
I make sure they have time to rehearse in their heads, out loud or in action, the prediction skills they need to acquire. During this rehearsal phase of the learning, I observe, interact, and question to find out what learning is taking place, and help students deepen their rehearsal actions and understandings.
When I teach concepts or strategies in mathematics, I allow time for students to problem solve, and to deepen their understanding of that concept using particular strategies. Ideally the task is differentiated in such as way that all students can enter at their own level and can have as much time as practicable to productively rehearse in their heads, out loud and in action, aspects of that which they are learning. During their investigations I help them connect with a problem solving strategy e.g. 'solve a simpler problem', which will help them with this particular problem.
Allowing rehearsal time also recognizes that we are not just teaching what is in the teacher's head. If a teacher imposes the learning steps/content on their students without time for rich, independent, differentiated trial and error experiences on what is being taught, then among other things, we 'impose the logical review of a mind that already understands the subject, upon the mind that is struggling to comprehend it, and thereby obstruct the logic of the student's own mind.' Dewey (1910).
Boomer, G. (1983) 'In Search of a Universal Literacy Program', Every Child Can Read and Write. ARA
DECD (2010) 'South Australian Teaching for Effective Learning Framework (TfEL)'
Dewey, J. (1910) 'How We Think.' D.C. Heath & Co.
Phil Callen is a former Executive Director of the Council of Education Associations of SA and Secretary of the Australian Professional Teachers Association. In 2013 he received the Exceptional Services to the Australian Professional Teachers Association award. He is currently the Director of Cue Learning, an education consultancy which provides highly practical, research based professional development for teachers and leaders in schools, and also works as a Learning Advisor in a northern suburbs school in Adelaide, South Australia.