Staff Professional Learning: During our last curriculum day, the teachers all attended a professional day run by the staff of the Kool Kids, Positive Parents program. The topics we discussed were:
1. Understanding children with problem behaviours
2. Supporting children to manage strong emotions: emotional regulation and attunement
3. Working with parents
The day provided us with time for reflection, discussion and to increase our knowledge and strategies.
School Council AGM: Thanks to the parents who attended the School Council Annual reporting Meeting on Monday. Thankyou to the retiring members, Rachel Pickersgill, Michael de Valle, Deb Flagg and Cath Clift. Welcome to new members, Lisa Embleton, Geoff Field, Helen Whitelaw and Ian Bland (and observer, Karina Green). Congratulations to the following for these appointments:
President: Paul Grujic,
Vice President: Geoff Field
School Review: We are well under way in completing our school Self Evaluation. This looks at the success of the current school Strategic Plan (2009 to 2012). As the end of this process, we will be writing a new Strategic Pan (2013 to 2016). Thanks to parents for their input into the school self-evaluation either through letter/discussion with me, through School Council or through a parent forum. If you still have any feedback for us, please see me asap. We have also been speaking with the children.
We have had a discussion forum with a small cross-section group of parents. It was an opportunity to talk in more detail with parents involved in the school but not on current school committees. We also looked at what the school does well and what we could do better. It was very gratifying to talk about the many things that make this school special. There are so many components that make up a school that we always need to know which are the ones that are more highly valued and successful.
The strong parent commitment to the school was unanimous and, as staff, we were gratified to hear how much the parents want to find ways to work with us to support their child’s education. We discussed the importance of parents understanding their child’s learning program whilst at the same time having confidence in the teachers that they will do what is humanly possible to make sure that each child is happy, feeling good about themselves and is given the opportunity to work to their potential. We acknowledge that there is no “magic wand” and there will be ups and downs as well as highs and lows but teachers are always keen to work with parents on any issues. Teachers get the older children to write individual learning goals and to keep moving their goal posts in order to strive for their best. The parent forum was very successful and we plan to hold more of these forums in the future.
All our parent input has agreed that although we want our children to be literate and numerate, education is much broader than this. The teachers at Kallista work hard to create “communities of learners” where children support each other in their learning and life’s values are promoted and practiced. This can be seen from a nine year old student’s self evaluation from their end of year school report 2011.
“Once we were all little kids who didn’t know how to spell. Now, at the age of nine, I feel as if I might explode with information even though I know that I don’t know half of what the world has in store for me. The class has helped me almost as much as X (teacher’s name) and because of that I have improved in everything. For the first time ever I got 100% on my dictation test –YIPEE! That’s my spelling improved! Reading became a routine about a year ago. I reckon I’m getting faster at reading and my journal responses are gradually becoming more interesting.
At the start of the year I was independent—too independent. Whenever I got the chance to work alone I would. But now with the help of my friends, X ,X and X, I have overcome that emotion and now I am working with many different people.
Production has also helped me greatly with my teamwork—the dances, the acting and especially the costumes and props. Everyone was working together to get the props they needed. Asking, giving and suggesting was used all through the term. The thing I still need to improve on is my concentration. I laugh at something then bam! I can’t remember where I was up to.
Leaving this class will be hard seeing that they have helped me a lot, but I suppose it’s for the best. Overall I only have two words to say, thanks X (my grade).”
Teaching children to read: Please read below about how to hear children read. Reading is just so much more than sounding out words. We talk a lot to the children about “what good readers do” because we are teaching the children to have the strategies of good readers. When we asked our Gr 3-6 children what good readers do 18 months ago we got responses such as: they read fast and they read hard books etc. Now when we ask the same question the children (gr 2-6) replied with so much more depth eg: they understand what they are reading, they understand the description and text,question the book – who? What? Why?, Choose a just right book, Keep tracks, ·use all the strategies they can think of ,read fluently, back-up and reread etc. Ask your child the same question!
So much more than just sounding out the words!!!
1. Orient the child to the story—have an adult style discussion
- Feed in anticipated difficult words
- Set the scene for success
2. Allow child to “control” the book and the reading
- Child turns pages
- Give wait time to work out words- Pause (5-10 seconds)
- Prompt-What would fit there?
- What would make sense?
- What would sound right?
- What does it start with?
- Read to the end of the book or chapter
- Praise-reinforce strategy use at the end of the page (be specific)
- e.g. “I saw you use the picture to help you- that’s what good readers do”
-You went back and fixed up that part so that it made sense
– You stopped at all the full stops
- If necessary go back and re- read short sections together
- Reading should be fluent from the very beginning
3. Discuss one element of the book
- Use open ended questions to promote thinking and conversation eg
-tell me about your favourite character
-why do you think this book is called……….?
– tell me about the problem in this book
-share your thinking about monkey in this book
-tell me about this picture , tell me about what you see/feel
4. Tell the child one thing they did well as they leave
- You really made your reading sound like talking today
- You remembered “come” on all the pages
- I could see you were thinking about the story as you read today
- I know you were using the pictures to help you work out the story
- You backed up and re-read when the story didn’t make sense
1. Readers get better at reading by reading. Reading volume is critical to reading
progress. Allington 1994
Therefore children need to read, read and read!
2. Reading is about thinking…….
The difference between skilled and struggling readers is in what they do when comprehension is compromised.
Skilled readers do not simply notice that they have lost meaning but they also have plans for fixing up their comprehension.
Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Lapp, D.,