Thursday, April 29, 2010

Providing the scaffolding to support all learners

I am incredibly lucky as Learning Support teacher to have the opportunity to pop in and out of all classrooms on a regular basis. I am always delighted when I catch a glimpse of the children that I work with fully engaged in a task alongside their peers and coping admirably because they have been given the "scaffolding" to succeed.

I came across an example of this today which can be found on room 7's blog:-

The lesson involved a group activity where all children worked together to produce an end resource to use during future writing work. The process allowed all children to share their ideas verbally and work as a team to make decisions on what ideas should be used. They were inspired and motivated by bright visual resources and hands-on methods of recording ideas. Fantastic work Room 7!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The "wh" sound

This week in The Learning Den we are working on h digraph spelling patterns.
When we looked at the "wh" pattern we discovered that most of the words we use to ask a question begin with "wh". Take a look at this song to see what we mean! 
"Wh" usually makes the "w" sound but can you spot which word beginning with "wh" actually makes the "h" sound?
At the end of this "wh" song (you will have to be quick to keep up!) the last word is "calculus". Can you find out what calculus means?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Make your books your own!

Do you have books in your room at home that you never ever look at?

Why not get them out and make them yours! Click here to print and colour in your own bookplates! Stick the labels into the inside cover of your favourite books.
Who knows, when you open it up to stick in your name label you might discover the
best story ever!

In years to come when you pass your books on to your own children they will see a
little bit of your history inside!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Using art to encourage reading and writing

Why is art so affective a medium and such an effective tool for teaching written communication?  Art in itself is a form of communication, an extension of the person who has created the art. It is a way of communicating that which is within to those who are on the outside. It is a way of reaching inside to bring out that which is hidden to be revealed. Through art we can express ideas more deeply. Unlike written communication, art uses senses such as colour, sound, touchand even taste


There are many artistic disciplines that can be incorporated into teaching written communication - from the Fine Arts to the Culinary Arts. Who would not prefer to eat their maths work as pizza fraction problems rather than just doing them?

As well as creating art, appreciating art by others is a fantastic way to get children talking, questioning and hypothesizing about all kinds of different scenarios. A piece of artwork is an instant visual or multi-sensory stimulus that can act as a rich starting point  to encourage those children who often shut down when simply asked to "write about...".

Why not give a struggling reader a book of paintings by some of the great masters during quiet reading time? They will instantly begin to formulate their own stories and ideas about who, why, where, when etc.. a painting came into being. 

This leads me on to thinking about developing a child's "inner spoken voice", an area I will cover in a future blog post.  The "voice" inside our head that we hear when reading silently is something that most of us take for granted which many children who struggle to read just don't have. Using pictures to verbalise stories is a great way to practice "hearing" a story in our own heads. 

I recently came across this brilliant book, Alphab'art by Anne Guery and Oliver Dussutour. 

It provides a wonderful starting point for using art to encourage a child of any age to look more deeply into what is on each page of a book. It contains 26 lovely photographs of paintings of renowned artists. Each hides a letter of the alphabet while exposing children to fine art. A nice way to reinforce letter shapes and introduce children to famous artists like Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh and lesser known masters as well.

Can you spot the letter F in this Mondrian painting?

What letter is hiding in this painting by Hopper? Is there a story behind  this picture?

What story did Salvador Dali have in his head when he painted "The Giraffe on Fire"?

What letter shape can you find in this portrait by Van Gogh? Do you know the story of his missing ear?

A famous painting within another famous painting but can you see the letter S?

This is a truly inspiring book. I have a copy in The Learning Den if you want to explore its possibilities!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Letters are Everywhere! -The Alphabet in April

Can you guess where these letters and numbers can be found?...