A useful book list, split into ‘early’ ‘middle’ and ‘early teens’ ages (though I always take age/stage guides lightly), which I found from a useful thread on the TES forums – does putting a link to that work?… http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/456125.aspx?PageIndex=1
The Telegraph list is introduced by a too-true article by Michael Morpurgo on the teaching of reading, probably worth reading at least every term!
Adding to that, there are booklists on the National Literacy Trust website, including specialist lists for particular target audiences http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/nyrp/resources
I have used The Twits as the focus for recent English lessons with a group of eight children (who are taught by me in Support for Learning for their English class). I was looking for an interesting way to wrap this up, and decided to issue the children a challenge to create ‘freeze frame’ images for each chapter of the book, which I would photograph. I split them into groups, each with responsibility for certain chapters in the book. I hoped the task would show:
- comprehension of the events in the story, including those we studied some time ago
- whether the children could ‘summarise’, by picking out the key moment in each chapter.
I gave them access to paper and pens so they could draw props/backgrounds etc. I had thought they would mainly ‘act out’ the story (we had done a little of this while reading it), with a few drawings to supplement, but they used the paper more than I expected.
The children were very excited by the idea, and keen to complete the challenge. They clearly showed recall and comprehension of the main events in the story. They showed less ability to pick out the ‘key moment’ in their chapters.
All were challenged by the need to collaborate with their partners. One group found it nearly impossible to organise themselves, keep to time and work together – for the final session, I decided rather than allowing them to ‘fail’ to complete the task, to give them an idea for each chapter and a list of jobs each to complete. This was a last resort as it took away the essential learning and assessment opportunities in the challenge, but I think it was important for their self-esteem. Interestingly, they are arguably the most ‘literate’ children in the group, being able to read independently and with understanding, unlike most of the others.
Overall, I feel it was a worthwhile task, and largely enabled me to make my assessments as I’d hoped. Beyond the reading comprehension, it was a relevant and practical talking and listening experience for the children, and I learned a great deal more about each of them as learners through observing them with this challenge.
For my own learning, I thought I’d put the children’s photos into Prezi , which was mentioned on a recent Learning and Teaching Scotland update. I’m still fumbling around with it a bit, mystified by the varying sizes in the text and the erratic autoplay (sure if I actually watched the guide videos all would be clear), but it’s lovely: very pretty, quite intuitive, with freebies for educators – deluxe.
Despite periodic resolutions to do better, I have so far proved to be a hopelessly erratic blogger. But, when preparing for a recent job interview, I realised again the value of keeping a record of my projects and learning. As I cast my mind back for examples that I might be able to use, I wished I could look at my blog and find a record of my work. So, I have re-resolved to post my teaching experiences and reflections more frequently…
(Happily, I got the job so will continue to have experiences to post!)
QI’s quote of the day, and a neat argument for cooperative learning and blogging…
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950)
This is a lovely film of a two-and-a-half year old exploring an iPad for the first time – wonder what we should put in the ‘Technologies’ forward plan for her?
From: http://laughingsquid.com/a-2-5-year-old-uses-an-ipad-for-the-first-time/ – thanks Alex!
Well, after a little rest, I feel a renewed energy and determination for developing my skills as a classroom teacher. However hard it is, there is really nowhere else I would rather be.
I had a lovely conversation with a secondary history teacher a couple of weeks ago, and she said something that resonated with me, “You’ve got to hang on to the ideal – keep aiming to teach the way you know it should be done – but forgive yourself each time you don’t reach that ideal.” She reckoned somewhere into ones third year of teaching, you finish a day and feel you taught exactly the way you wanted to. So there is hope…
A few thoughts crystallised this afternoon having helped some colleagues with a little blog admin task. It felt so good to be doing something I’ve done before – to feel on sure ground, to have knowledge and a skill useful to the group. I’ve missed that feeling!
Six months into my probationary year, I think I’m doing OK, I know I have learned and will keep learning and getting better, and I know some things will get easier with experience. Also, I do believe there’s more than one way to be a good teacher, and I believe everyone can learn and improve, always. But if I’m going to be a teacher, I want to be a really good one. And here’s the thing: I’m already better at other things than I probably ever could be at teaching. Would I be happier, and more use, doing the things that come more naturally?
So I can sort something on the school blog for my colleagues. But have I used the school blog once with my class – to publish their writing perhaps, or photos of their art? No, not once, but my colleagues have. I fully intended to when I started this year, and I still think it’s an important thing to do. It’s my new years resolution. But my ‘tech’ skill is useless, if I can’t do the ‘teach’. And I’ve been so buried under my day-to-day workload I haven’t even updated my own blog, never mind figured out how to get the children onto theirs.
And yet… education is where I want to be. Not necessarily formal, or mainstream, but education, learning, is the thing I really care about. I love learning, particularly about how people learn, and I love helping them to do so. I can’t think of a better use for my time and energy. So where do I belong?
At the moment, this question feels more like an opportunity than a burden. But it does feel like an important one to continue to try to answer, and hopefully the answering will continue to lead me down interesting paths…