Tag archives: inset

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

New courses: Object-based teaching and learning and Using artefacts to support literacy – plus website problems

Intractable and very frustrating problems mean I’m currently unable to update my website, so for the time being I’ll post my training news here on my blog.

footballThere has been an upsurge of interest recently in object-based learning, and I’ve created two new courses in response to demand. They are particularly relevant to school library services that offer artefact collections or topic boxes with objects as well as books, and are suitable as inset for individual schools and museums, and as regional or national training. Please get in touch if you would like extra details. I adapt all my courses to local needs and circumstances.

The lovely photo comes courtesy of Farnborough Grange Community School.

Using artefacts to support literacy

Practical, hands-on training to identify the value of object-based literacy learning and explore ways to embed object-based literacy teaching across the curriculum.

Participants can expect to gain:

  • more understanding of the role and benefits of artefacts in literacy teaching
  • the context in terms of the national curriculum and Ofsted
  • ideas for using artefacts to support reading skills and enjoyment
  • strategies for developing research skills, comprehension, inference and deduction
  • new ways to deliver literacy across the curriculum
  • methods for enhancing information writing and creative writing
  • greater knowledge of the SLS artefact collections and topic boxes and ideas for using them (where appropriate)

Object-based teaching and learning

An interactive course to explore the value of object-based teaching and learning and identify practical strategies to support learning across the curriculum.

Expected learning outcomes:

  • greater awareness of the role and benefits of object-based teaching and learning
  • ideas for using artefacts to support the curriculum and theme-based teaching
  • methods for fostering cognitive and problem-solving skills and critical thinking
  • strategies for developing literacy and comprehension
  • ways to develop information and investigative skills, inference and deduction
  • tips for nurturing creativity
  • ideas for lesson-plans

What people say about this training

  • A fantastic day. I feel more confident about using objects within my planning, teaching and learning. We have drawn together an action plan which will help us implement what we have covered today.
  • Thanks for today, the teachers were raving about it and they left buzzing with ideas.
  • It was really valuable to unpick the many benefits objects have in teaching and learning. I really enjoyed the practical and hands-on approach and the time to work collaboratively.
  • An excellent opportunity to further investigate our museum and how to use objects to inspire learning.
  • Interesting and stimulating look at how to use objects for teaching and learning. Useful models for learning.
  • I found talking about linking the objects to the different areas of the curriculum useful, especially linking to literacy.
  • I have a greater understanding about the effectiveness of objects in a learning environment and how they can stimulate children’s ability to be creative.
  • Now we have lots of ideas for how to move our museum and object-based curriculum forwards.
  • Enjoyed learning about different theories and approaches to learning.
  • Useful ideas for where to go after the questioning/exploration of the objects.
  • I learnt more about how using objects can inspire children’s creative thinking and cover all aspects of the curriculum.
  • Good strategies to improve my teaching practice.
  • Very engaging and interesting. Anne has tailored the day around our unique needs. This enabled us to get exactly what we needed as a staff without having to fit square pegs in round holes.
  • Practical activities looking at objects and questioning skills.
  • Useful activities and questions. Splitting up the planning process made it clearer, along with discussion between staff. Useful to use objects.
  • Great flow about the presentation, relaxed atmosphere, got everyone thinking and hugely enjoyable.
  • Showed how useful/important object-based learning can be. Great ideas and a feeling that we, as a school, had moved on/developed understanding.
  • Lots of imaginative and creative ideas that can be applied.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Factors that support key stage 1 and 2 boys’ literacy and numeracy at home and school

I was delighted to give a workshop for parents and carers and inset on key stage 1 and 2 boys’ learning this week. We had some great discussions, focusing especially on engaging boys with reading, writing and maths.

Boys’ learning improves when what they’re doing interests them. Ever watched boys vying to find the most gruesome fact in the top trumpsGuinness Book of Records? Boys, like everyone else, learn better when they’re doing something they enjoy. Playing games with boys is very valuable. Simple games like snakes and ladders have loads of maths. Computer games like Minecraft are brimming with numeracy, and support literacy too, especially when you factor in all the annuals and cheat sheets boys pore over. Top Trumps have masses of maths and reading.

Parents and carers can do so much to aid boys’ learning: reading to them, getting literacy and maths into day-to-day activities like shopping, following recipes, measuring, checking timetables and maps, helping them work out what to buy with pocket money, looking at the sports pages or the Argos catalogue.

Homes and schools need lots of boy-friendly learning materials. Games, yes, and magazines, brochures, manuals. Books too, needless to say. We all know that many boys enjoy non-fiction, so books on their hobbies are vital. Boys who aren’t keen on English often get the reading bug because of books used in subjects they like. Contrary to the stereotype, fiction is highly popular with vast numbers of boys. Comedy, adventure and horror are favourite genres. School and public libraries play a big role, supporting independent choice.

Learning is more accessible if it has an outcome. Much more interesting to read a novel if you’re going to create a comic-strip version or a computer animation. Drama and role-play help boys a lot. Photos, artefacts and videos are great starting points for learning. Literacy Shed has loads of videos and animations to inspire reading and writing. Mathematics Shed has great puzzles and games.

Of course boys need male role models. Members of the family are the strongest models in their lives, so it’s important to get fathers, grandfathers and brothers on board. How about asking firefighters, police officers, male celebrities to visit school to talk about how they use reading, writing, maths in their lives? Story-tellers and authors can totally change boys’ attitudes to literacy.

I once heard about a Y6 lesson where boys did the most reading their teacher could ever remember. Why? Because it was an art lesson and she’d covered the tables with newspapers. She was a keen motorcyclist, and all the papers were about motorbikes. Not much art happened, but so much other learning.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Supporting SEN children’s reading

I love giving courses and inset on supporting SEN children’s reading and it’s been a treat recently to run training on this at Heath Books and Mayflower High School. There were excellent discussions both times about the barriers to reading and ways to overcome them. These factors make a big difference:

  • enthusing about reading
  • reading role models
  • making reading interesting, relevant and attractive
  • valuing the reading SEN children are doing
  • reading aloud
  • a focus on literacy across the whole curriculum
  • authentic contexts for reading and authentic reading materials (recipes, newspapers, manuals, catalogues etc)
  • assistive technologies
  • lots of support for comprehension as well as decoding
  • multi-sensory approaches
  • paired reading
  • support for independent learning and reading
  • libraries that are well-stocked with appropriate reading materials and well laid out and guided
  • guidance and support to meet individual interests and needs
  • support for parents and carers
  • easily accessible online and printed reading materials
  • text that is simple to read without being patronising
  • books with clear layout and good illustrations
  • plenty of non-fiction on subjects of individual interest
  • HILO books (high interest level; low reading age)
  • fiction books with gripping starts, short chapters and plots and characters readers can identify with

My post on special needs and libraries (and HILO books) has more details on some of these issues. Incidentally, the Heath Books course was heavily over-subscribed, so it’s being repeated on 18 June.

The photo is of a family friend with special needs. Once he and I found books that grabbed him he was absorbed for a very long time.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Reading corners and class libraries

I loved giving inset the other day on developing exciting class libraries and book corners. These are such a crucial part of primary classrooms, with so much potential for supporting the curriculum, and particularly for developing literacy skills and reading enjoyment. Yet somehow in many schools they are given very little attention. It was great to have the opportunity to explore how to create collections that meet pupils’ needs and interests, and that support teaching and learning effectively. There was a real buzz in the room, as everyone discussed ways they were going to improve the look and feel and contents of their class libraries, and ideas for incorporating them into lesson planning.

Thank you Lowton St Mary’s Primary School for the lovely picture.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Literacy across the curriculum – inset at Eastwood Academy

I’ve at last got time to reflect on the inset on literacy across the curriculum that I gave at Eastwood Academy in Leigh-on-Sea just before half-term. I am always delighted when schools ask me for training on this topic. It is so important. And of course Ofsted is very hot on it right now.

I really liked the feel of the school, and the teachers are great. The discussions and ideas were very impressive. We started by exploring the literacy skills needed for subject learning. The notions everyone then shared for embedding them in lessons were excellent, whether on ways to teach subject-specific vocabulary or note-taking, ideas for enhancing oral communication or comprehension, or methods for making reading and writing interesting. The subject-related books I brought created lots of interest. Pertinent and appealing information and fiction books in classrooms can transform attitudes to subject learning and to reading: books like Horrible Histories and Murderous Maths, or Theresa Breslin’s Divided City, equally valuable in PE, PSHE and RE, or The Arrival by Shaun Tan, inspiring in art, graphic design, citizenship and geography. Real-life reading resources and contexts make reading relevant. Loads of innovative strategies for exploiting newspapers, magazines, menus, catalogues and the like were shared. Students have exciting lessons coming up.