The C Grade
This post has previously been published, and has been republished on 27/11/2021
It is report time in Australia right now and tens of thousands of parents are either reading, or about to read about their child’s academic progress over the last two terms. All schools in Australia are required to grade children’s academic results on a 5 point scale. In many schools this is represented through A – E grades, with a C grade meaning that the student has learned to complete the skill or task reason…
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Pinterest
This post was previously published under the title, 'A Review of Online Resources - Pinterest'.
Teachers LOVE Pinterest. We try and have a Pinterest perfect classroom, with cute displays on our doors. (Here’s mine from a few years ago)
I’ve made rain clouds out of balloons, paper Mache and cotton balls. I’ve created a box of paper fruit and veg for my dramatic play area. I’ve even made whole immersion experiences for my kiddos usi…
Simple Phonics Solutions For Home Learning
One of the struggles I have seen teachers have in put together their home learning packs for phonics is ‘what on earth do we give our children who can’t read anything yet?’ This is especially challenging if your school is not offering live stream lessons or families do not have access to unlimited internet data. In our regular phonics lessons the teacher is absolutely crucial to scaffolding and leading learning. No worksheet or set of instructions for parents can replace that. So, how do…
Phonemes and Graphemes
When first learning about teaching phonics it can be challenging to wrap your head around how it all works. For teachers who are used to teaching with letter names, it can be tricky to know what a ‘sound’ is and what it isn’t. So, here are some fundamentals of sounds and letters to help get you on track.
Firstly, it is important to call things by their right names and to teach these names to students.
There are 44 phonemes in Australian English - 24 consonant phonemes and 20 vowel pho…
The Value of a Quality Program
Imagine going to the hardware store knowing you need to fix the mould in your bathroom. You look for ‘mould products’ and discover a wonderful looking bottle of mould killer that promises to eradicate all of your bathroom problems. You take it home, spray your bathroom liberally and regularly and the problem seems to clear up (you can forgive the bleached areas of paint on the untiled sections of your bathroom. After all, the mould is gone). Except, that it hasn’t. Your tiles look lovely and c…
No More Three Cueing! What's Next?
There has been a lot of talk lately about the very encouraging announcement that Arkansas in the United States has banned teach children the three cueing method in reading instruction. This means that teachers will need to find an alternative to teaching children to do any of the following:
- Look at the first letter, look at the picture and think about what makes sense
- Skip the word, read on and then come back after you think about what makes sense
- Trying a word that makes sense
- Using …
Using Decodable Texts to Meet Student Needs
We have all heard about decodable texts and the need to ditch 3 cueing. It is now well established that children should only be given material to read in the early stage of learning to read that contains graphemes and high frequency words they have been taught and that 'sounding out' is the only strategy we should be teaching when children are lifting the words from the page. However, even this switch to decodable texts does not mean that one size fits all.
Before I talk about stud…
How Do You Know What You Don't Know?
Every teacher I have every met (bar a couple who really needed to work somewhere else) has wanted to do a good job for kids. Usually we enter the profession with the genuine desire to make a difference to children and contribute something positive to society. The caring nature of teaching means that we often invest deeply in our students and give of ourselves in countless ways. Practices come and practices go and we do our best to adjust to the 'new way'. Teaching reading is no different. Prac…
Unsightly Sight Words
There is much commentary about teaching sight words, with good reason. This ineffective practice still runs rampant in most Primary Schools.
Some of the most common questions I see asked in early years Facebook group are about this very topic.
How do you teach them?
What activities do you do with them?
How do we help students who are having trouble learning them?
The answer to all of these questions largely lies in the definition of sight words and our understanding of how we learn t…
5 Classroom Practices to Boost Language
Oral language is at the heart of all academic learning. After all, If you can’t say it, you can’t read it and you can’t write it. As teachers, we know this to be true, but often struggle to understand exactly what we are supposed to do to make it happen. So, here is a handy list of things to take into consideration when planning for oral language teaching in your classroom:
- Make your classroom a language rich environment where discussion and use of complex vocabulary is the norm. D…