Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mrs R's top ten tips for easing the agony of spelling homework!!

Spelling homework often creates tension at home. Kids and parents are tired and the last thing they want to do after a hard day is to get the books out again.

This is especially true for those children that are visual and multi-sensory learners. Many of us learn more effectively if we can see, touch, smell, hear or taste something to do with what we are learning.

If children can make some kind of visual or multi-sensory connection when they are learning their spellings they are far more likely to recall the experience and commit it to memory. You can double this effect if it is fun at the same time.

Take a look at my top ten tips for easing the agony of spelling homework. Try one out this week and see if it helps. Have fun, lots of fun!!
Mrs R :O)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud." Mem Fox

March 3, 2010 has been established as LitWorld's (click to go to website) first World Read Aloud Day to celebrate and encourage the invaluable practice of reading aloud and to bring attention to the importance of literacy across all countries and for all of humanity.

So whatever you are doing this week, take a little time to read aloud to someone.

According to Mem Fox, author of Reading Magic, "If everyone understood the huge educational benefit and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every adult caring for a child, read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation."

This is a pretty bold statement and of course does not turn things around completely if a child struggles with reading because of a learning difference, but one that many Early Childhood professionals firmly believe in and one which speaks a great deal of truth.

So what kind of difference can reading aloud to a child for between 10 and 30 minutes per day make? The statistics speak for themselves...

If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is 5 years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!
Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child's hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.
A pre-school child who has not been read to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment. So "feeding a book" to our kids, no matter what age they are or what reading material we choose, is, and will always be, one of the most beneficial ways to develop learning both at home and at school.
As a lover of reading and books who is nearing the end of her fourth decade, I can honestly say that I will never get tired of being read to and continuing to learn from the experience....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Little Chatterboxes

Getting kids to talk about something is a great way to engage them when embarking upon something new or different. Even better is to ask them to talk about something they can see.

In the Learning Den we are 'growing' a wall of Little Chatterboxes. These are just empty mint tins that have been sprayed blue and had a button stuck onto them so we can tell them apart from each other. Inside there is something curious, familiar or funny.

When the children have chosen a box from our collection they take a peek inside and guess what it might be before they take it out. When they take it out we have a chat about what the thing is or what it could be used for, how it works or how it is made. The chatterboxes are often a great starting point for some spelling work or story writing. Try it at home, it's really good fun!

If you have any empty eclipse mint boxes or curious little items that you wouldn't mind donating to the Learning Den we would love to add them to our collection! Thanks, Mrs R.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sing along to the short vowel song

This week in the Learning Den some of the younger children have been practising their short and long vowel sounds. Here is a cool song to help us remember our short vowel sounds..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Come and have a peep in The Learning Den!

Here are a few photos showing what a bright and colourful place The Learning Den is. Using pictures and making things is a great way to become familiar with words and a fun way to improve your spelling too.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why not have some fun while you read!!

It is great to practice reading in all sorts of different ways. The more you read the better you will become at spelling and writing too. If you enjoy what you are reading you will learn more.

Watch this video a few times and follow the words as they change colour. I bet you will be humming along after a while! Enjoy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome to the first posting on our Learning Den blog, a useful place to find information to support our children's learning and to encourage them to believe that the sky is the limit!

I feel very privileged to be the Learning Support teacher here at Muritai School as it is a wonderful place to work and the children are fantastic! My role gives me the opportunity to provide individual support to those children who need a boost in confidence with their learning.

Children are all individuals. They learn in different ways and at their own pace. There may be times when they need extra support to enable them to be the best that they can be.

At Muritai School we are fortunate enough to be able to provide that support for students mainly from Years 3 - 8. As the support teacher I work alongside the classroom teacher in identifying students who would benefit from that little bit of extra attention.

Once students are identified and contact is made with their parents, an individualised education plan or IEP is put in place for them. Students are then withdrawn from class for between two and four half hour sessions per week. Sometimes they work with other children who have similar needs and sometimes they work on their own. At the end of each term I discuss with the classroom teacher whether each student would benefit from receiving Learning Support for a further term.

Parents are welcome at any time to sit in on sessions with their child and I am always happy to discuss ways in which support can be given at home. Please feel free to contact me in person or by email if you have any questions.