Parent Connection Point March 1st, 2017
For those of you who were able to make it to today's workshop, thank you very much. For those that couldn't make it, here is a rundown of what we covered.
Our workshop today looked at early literacy and what that means for us at school and at home. Please follow this link to a slideshow that covers that content:
We also discussed the learner attributes and our bigger concepts that we cover through our inquiry. These are at the end of the slideshow above. Our big inquiry this year is around 'power' and we have been looking at that through the lens of our power to make or break someone's day and our power as learners to grow our brains and keep on going.
Some big things to note about us is that we learn through play, discovery and experiences. This means that we aren't usually sitting at tables, quietly working--there is a place for that too--but we are inquiring and actively seeking out new knowledge.
Please stay connected and if you have questions, let me know!
Parent Workshop--Transition to Tautoru and Literacy
We had a parent workshop a few weeks ago. We talked about our literacy program and how it varies within the class and our transition program.
- Every Friday we have been transitioning into Tautoru. Children are having an opportunity to work with different children and get to know their new teachers.
- Children are working through different curriculum areas so that teachers have the opportunity to see where they have strengths and where their needs are.
- The junior block will be working closely together next year and many of the systems and routines will carry through both spaces.
- We have been having lots of fun and are getting to know what it will be like next year!
- Children beginning school spend a lot of time building up their foundation literacy skills by participating in shared readings of poems and big books. We work on alphabet knowledge and letter/sound matching activities. We work on building their bank of high-frequency words (rocket words). Reading at home should not be stressful. Suggested activities: searching for rocket words, practising them in fun and engaging ways. Reading poems and favourite books, being read to. Children working on these skills will bring a variety of reading materials home: poems, some early readers, and their pixelhouse reading matrix (this is also on our blog).
- Children who have been at school for longer and have a solid grasp of the basics explore more challenging readers. They also read poems which look at high frequency words, spelling patterns and blends. As the texts get harder, there may be fewer given in a week as some may be read for more than one day or may be used to explore a variety of comprehension skills. When they finish being able to instantly recognise lists 1-5, they transition to spelling rockets. We have been trialling Spell-Write-Online and are hoping for your feedback to let us know what you think!
Earlier this term we had a parent workshop in which we discussed writing and specifically 'the helping circle'. As a staff we have been undergoing professional development with Sally Muir this year around writing. One of the tools she has shared with us and that is being used across the spaces is 'the helping circle'.
The helping circle is described as:
the whole class team assembles in a ‘helping circle’, usually at the beginning or
end of a writing session, so that writers can share their work and consider the
effect of the writing and what might improve it. After receiving an initial
response, the writer will expect some specific feedback about the effect of the
writing and the choices made. Over time, as students gain confidence and success
in the Helping Circle they will also expect to be helped, questioned, nudged and
challenged to improve. Initially the teacher takes the lead, modelling the
expectations of the helping circle and establishing protocols around language
that builds confidence and skills in developing writers. As students are guided to
respond competently and confidently, the responsibility shifts more to the
students themselves for response and help. They become less dependent on the
teacher and more confident in using the community of writers within the
Loane/Muir ‘I’ve Got Something to Say’
In Autahi our helping circles range from sharing what we've written and looking at the direction we write in to checking for capital letters and full stops and even to adding in more interesting vocabulary and beginning to edit on our own.
Last week we had our parent workshop.
Thank you to all of the parents that were able to make it. For those that couldn't, here is a summary of what we covered.
First we asked for some feedback about what was going well so far.
This is what we got: people have been enjoying Rising 5s, our transition to school, how children are making friends within our class and the use of praise and incentives to keep motivation up.
We asked for feedback for ways we could improve the start to school. We really appreciate the feedback.
Some of the suggestions included: having buddies with older students, having more visits to school before children start and having more "real" class activities during Rising 5s.
Next we addressed questions.
The themes: people were a bit uncertain about homework and the role parents play in that, reading at home, how kids learn to write and how friendships are encouraged.
Our responses: Fortunately, some of the suggestions are things that we already do!
- We have got senior buddies who come in a few times a week to do buddy reading and writing with our new children. This has proven to be really helpful for children when on the playground because they know some of the big kids around!
- Children starting school are invited to attend Rising 5s afternoons for 2 terms before they start and can make a minimum of 2 school visits--more visits are welcome if you feel your child needs it and all you need to do is come see us.
- Rising 5s is our developmental discovery time in which we have a variety of activities that we do have out during normal class time as well. School visits provide more guided instruction.
- Homework shouldn't be stressful! We are trying to encourage reading--this can be done by reading together, being read to or children reading to you.
- Other homework includes exploring and practising their rocket words--these are high frequency words--and we encourage trying to do this in fun ways--chalk, shaving cream, glitter.
- Here is a link to the presentation we shared and it includes more information around early literacy in the classroom: Early Literacy Presentation Link