Learning Strategies

English is tough!! Enough is enough!

This is a great little teacher reminder about how tough English phonics are to learn – particularly for ESL adults – a funny video featuring Lucy and Desi!

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies, Teachers

Sight Word Learning Ideas

Sight words are classified as words that don’t conform to regular phonetic spelling and so they often present a challenge to beginning readers. They are remembered through repeated exposure and Year 1 teacher, Celeice McDonnell, has some great ideas for parents to assist their children to learn their words …

  • Memory Game: Make a second set of words, turn them over and take it in turns to try to turn over a match – the winner is the player with the most pairs.
  • Snap: Make a second set of words, shuffle and take it in turns to place words down on the deck – SNAP when the cards match.
  • Alphabetical Order: place the words in alphabetical order.
  • Letter Jumble: Jumble the letters and rearrange to make the sight word.
  • Make a Crossword
  • Create a Word Sleuth
  • Write or say each word in a sentence.
  • Board Game: Use the words, counters and a dice to make a board game – read the words as they are landed on – first to the end is the winner.
  • Missing Letters: Guess the word with missing letters.
  • Short Story: make-up or write a story using as many sight words as possible.

Any other ideas ?

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies, Teachers

Teaching Children to Read

 Quote – US National Reading Panel

“In 1997, Congress asked the NICHD, through its Child Development and Behavior Branch, to work with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in establishing a National Reading Panel that would evaluate existing research and evidence to find the best ways of teaching children to read.

The 14-member Panel included members from different backgrounds, including school administrators, working teachers, and scientists involved in reading research.

On April 13, 2000, the National Reading Panel concluded its work and submitted its final reports. The Panel has not been reconvened since that time and does not continue to work on this issue.

Topic Areas

Specifically, Congress asked the Panel to:

  • Review all the research available (more than 100,000 reading studies) on how children learn to read.
  • Determine the most effective evidence-based methods for teaching children to read.
  • Describe which methods of reading instruction are ready for use in the classroom and recommend ways of getting this information into schools.
  • Suggest a plan for additional research in reading development and instruction.

In addition, the National Reading Panel held public hearings where people could give their opinions on what topics the panel should study.

The Panel considered roughly 100,000 reading studies published since 1966, and another 10,000 published before that time. From this pool, the Panel selected several hundred studies for its review and analysis.

The National Reading Panel’s analysis made it clear that the best approach to reading instruction is one that incorporates:

  • Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness
  • Systematic phonics instruction
  • Methods to improve fluency
  • Ways to enhance comprehension

The Panel found that a combination of techniques is effective for teaching children to read:

  • Phonemic awareness—the knowledge that spoken words can be broken apart into smaller segments of sound known as phonemes. Children who are read to at home—especially material that rhymes—often develop the basis of phonemic awareness. Children who are not read to will probably need to be taught that words can be broken apart into smaller sounds.
  • Phonics—the knowledge that letters of the alphabet represent phonemes, and that these sounds are blended together to form written words. Readers who are skilled in phonics can sound out words they haven’t seen before, without first having to memorize them.
  • Fluency—the ability to recognize words easily, read with greater speed, accuracy, and expression, and to better understand what is read. Children gain fluency by practicing reading until the process becomes automatic; guided oral repeated reading is one approach to helping children become fluent readers.
  • Guided oral reading—reading out loud while getting guidance and feedback from skilled readers. The combination of practice and feedback promotes reading fluency.
  • Teaching vocabulary words—teaching new words, either as they appear in text, or by introducing new words separately. This type of instruction also aids reading ability.
  • Reading comprehension strategies—techniques for helping individuals to understand what they read. Such techniques involve having students summarize what they’ve read, to gain a better understanding of the material.”

From: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/Pages/nrp.aspx/

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies, Parents, Teachers

Folder Instructions

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember;
involve me and I’ll understand. Chinese Proverb

The Mastery Learning Folder is an organizational tool designed to enable teachers and parents to support individual student progress through remediation, consolidation or extension of the learning occurring in the classroom. It’s student-centred, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (hands on) …

Step 1. Teachers use their assessment results or students are pre-tested from the website, and the learning content is identified.
Step 2. The relevant flashcards are printed and placed into the Store pocket. Based on the ability of the learner, four to twelve flashcards are moved into the Hive pocket.
Step 3. These active flashcards can now be consolidated through on-going classroom instruction, one-on-one learning strategies and parent homework support.
Step 4. Each day, the flashcards in the active pockets are first tested. Correct flashcards are moved forward to the next pocket whilst incorrect flashcards are returned to the Hive. The flashcards are then consolidated.
Step 5. This test and learn process repeats each day until some flashcards reach the Test pocket. As each flashcard reaches the Test pocket a new flashcard is transferred from the Store into the Hive. Once there’s a collection of flashcards in the Test pocket, the learner is then ready to be formally assessed (weekly/fortnightly/staggered). Correct flashcards go to the Mastered pocket whilst incorrect flashcards go back to the Hive.
Step 6. To ensure that the learning content has passed into long-term memory, the mastered flashcards can be re-tested after a period of time. Correct flashcards are removed from the folder and those remaining go back to the Hive. Check out the free Flashcard Club

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies, Parents, Teachers

Rote Learning ?

My thoughts …

What is the mechanism of learning ? How do we know we have actually learnt something? It is some form of remembering – patterns, images, symbols, processes, steps, physical movement or experiences. Blooms has placed “remembering” as the first and foundational skill of thinking.

Moving on to pedagogy, what is the best way to enable students to remember, to learn?

My belief is that for any given learning task students should be provided with different approaches and perspectives, presentations based on different learning styles and multi-sensory contextual experiences. The other important factor for individual learning needs is the appropriate amount of time.

The opposite of this is rote learning, where remembering is not accompanied by context or understanding. Although mastery learning folders could be used for rote learning, it is not recommended. The best “remembering” is done when concepts are learnt through a variety of contexts – classroom learning, educational games, technology etc and the mastery learning folder is one tool available to the teacher as she directs and facilitates learning.

My perspective and experience with the use of mastery learning folders is that they are a tool that enables the teacher to differentiate the learning content and time required for selected students to remediate or extend the material being presented in the context of classroom learning.

This quote is on my home page reflects my beliefs about mastery learning:

“Bloom observed that teaching all students in the same way and giving all the same time to learn – that is providing little variation in the instruction – typically results in great variation in learning. Students for whom the instructional methods and amount of time are appropriate learn well, and those for whom the methods and time are less appropriate learn less well.

 Bloom believed that all students could be helped to reach a higher criterion of learning if both the instructional methods and time were varied to match students’ individual learning needs. In other words, to reduce variation in the achievement of diverse groups of students and have all students learn well, Bloom argued that educators and teachers must increase variation in instructional approaches and learning time. Bloom labeled the strategy to accomplish this instructional variation and differentiation mastery learning.

 Research evidence shows that the positive effects of mastery learning are not limited to cognitive or achievement outcomes. The process also yields improvements in students’ confidence in learning situations, school attendance rates, involvement in class sessions, attitudes towards learning and a variety of other affective measures.”

Guskey, Thomas R. (2007) Closing Achievement Gaps: Revisiting Benjamin S. Bloom’s “Learning for Mastery” Journal of Advanced Academics Vol 19 Number

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies