11 April 2015

What they said...Part 2

In my attempt to create a centralised place for all of the interesting links I find on my cyber travels I have started a What they said... series. What they said Part 1 can be found here. This series will give me an opportunity to think and reflect on some of the interesting articles I come across.

Risk in childhood

The age of bubble-wrap, cotton-wool, that's dangerous childhood is upon us. This article suggest five ways we can gift children more risk in their play. I use the term gift (not the author) because in this day in age of less tree climbing, more soft fall and plastic contraptions it truly is a gift to have a childhood that allows risk. Lauren Knight suggests the following:

* Teach your child to use real tools
* Back off at the playground
* Allow for some freedom
* Climb trees
* Allow for open-ended play.

During my Nature Kindergarten experience at Play and Learn in New Zealand, my long time friend and mentor (also long time boss) Jan would say "the biggest risk is not risk at all". Children learn through experience, they learn to manoeuvre, adapt, think, wait, push, dig deep through lived experiences. What kind of adults will we have should they experience no risk or grit in their childhood?

Leading for growth

I have a new lens when cyber walking. in August 2015 I will assume a new role as Pedagogical Co-ordinator in K2 at TKS. This position is partly about supporting teachers with curriculum and professional practices. So may posts have caught my eye and challenged me to think about the opportunity I have to support, mentor and learn from my colleges. This post caught my attention, actually the whole article did - rather than post the whole article here (because it is so good I really want to do that) I will highlight the sentences that resonate with me.

Great leaders don’t spend time trying to change people. They spend their energy creating the conditions in which people want to change.
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman  
“It’s unreasonable to ask a professional to change much more than 10% a year, but it’s unprofessional to change by much less than 10% a year.” - Steven Leinwand

Following on from the what good leaders do came this post from Edna @ WhatEdSaid. A brilliant summary of her experience with coaching and her takeaways (see below).

Edna writes ...
I’ve already learned..
  • to talk less
  • to listen more
  • to craft purposeful questions
  • the value of collaborative reflection
  • to see things through the eyes of the teacher being coached
  • that teachers’ goals shift and grow as they see evidence of change in themselves and their learners
  • the value of protected time for teachers to reflect and talk about their practice
  • that positive relationships contribute to effective coaching
  • that effective coaching builds positive relationships
  • that teachers’ observations of their own practice are even more powerful than observations by others
  • that some teachers are happy to share the process of their growth, not just with other teachers, but with their students too
  • that, even in the early stages, coaching can make a dramatic difference to teaching and learning
  • that instigating change requires trying something different
  • that self-directed learning is the most powerful kind there is
  • the power of using data (about yourself as well as your learners) to inform teaching and learning…

The items that resonate with me the most are 'talk less, listen more' I have been trying this with my class at the moment and I'm really looking forward to this next year. The other item is the notion of 'relationship', these are fundamental to any partnership and I really want to prioritise this in my work next year.

04 April 2015

What I am learning from Louisa Moats...

If you have been following my blog you will know that I am studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Literacy Education. I am currently in the midst of a Foundations to Literacy paper. My thoughts on literacy in the Early Years can be found here.

Our first text that has been assigned is Speech to Print: Language Essential for teachers. A member from the class posted links to videos of the author in our forum. There are a plethora of great videos  available from Reading Rockets website and Louisa Moats Youtube channel that highlight Dr. Moats key ideas. Take a look at the highlight quotes for me below.

The most common confusion is that if the alphabet is taught that is phonemic awareness or if just rhyming and alliteration is taught that is enough phonemic awareness...until we spend time making sure that children are attaching the letters to these speech sounds to words the phonics instruction doesn't work well.
Most people will confuse the idea of a letter with the idea of a sound because we have 26 letters and 40-46 speech sounds...
The large majority of poor readers at the upper grades never got phonics or phonemic awareness instruction. Intervention programs that put a strong emphasis on these basic underlying skills in the beginning are more effective than programs that just emphasise vocabulary and comprehension.

Tim Brown on Creativity and Play

Forbidden Education