Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Standards


The debate continues.  It is unfortunate that professionals with a wealth of experience in the field are not part of this decision making process.  Self review needs to include all those involved in setting up the standards to begin with.  Testing and alignment is paramount to the success of any venture.  Interesting to read that finances are to be poured into encouraging parents to accept and get behind the standards.  Having trialled these, I know I am not alone with the huge number of questions I have. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Ideas

This site has a lot of great ideas for Christmas fun, ornaments, activities and worksheets.

Click on any of the buttons to take you to a range of activities including Craft around the World.

Sen teacher

This site has a range of activities for use with students with special needs.  I have personally used a range of the printable activities for general use with Junior School classes.  There are worksheets and printable resources for Maths and Literacy and links to free downloads  for visuals.  Worth a look if you haven't used it before. 
Many of the printables can be laminated and used on repeated occasions in the classrooms.  I have used the Shopping cards using dollar amounts, laminated and had the children fill in the change you would get.
Worth exploring.

National Standards

This year, we embarked on the task of implementing National Standards, no easy job at the beginning of this year when there were minimal guidelines to support this endeavour.  Revising the formats of the reports themselves to include room for reporting in "plain English" in the three main areas we have succeeded in part to deliver but at what cost.  Staff have found it laborious to record in writing, what could be shown, explained and spoken to, an arduous task indeed. 
Unpacking the Standards which is argued are to a large extent untested was in itself a time consuming task and this will undoubtedly vary from school to school across the country. Despite the difficulties we faced, however, there are positives to be taken from and worked with for the future.  Strong professional dialogue has occurred throughout the year and areas of need in Professional Development has been outlined.  The importance of quality teacher practice with on-going formative assessment can be addressed by all.  In terms of the actual Standards themselves, we can stand up and say that having tried and delivered in the mode set down by the Government that this can be done in a far more effective way than this.  In the Junior School, recognising children's skills and abilities in relation to their actual age at signposts allows an element of fairness to individuals when reporting progress.  As a result of the work undertaken this year, the toll has been great, confusion, time constraints, time allotment to report writing, difficulty unpacking what is working to and at at a range of prescribed levels - BUT  seeds have been planted and these are now ready to sprout and continue their growth as we ask ourselves... "what are our next learning steps?"  and as students, ourselves involved in this learning process, we have pretty good ideas of our own!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Typing Skills

A free resource for on-line typing skills for children.
This has little activities for learning their way round the keyboard
and using the correct fingers.  Just a fun way of practising fingering and fine motor skills round the key board either at home or school.

Focuses on groups of letters in close proximity and has a range of different levels of skill.

Its free.

Visit to Red Beach School

It certainly was an interesting visit to Red Beach School.  Impressive to say the least and exciting to think that everything they do is firmly embedded.  This would be the ideal situation for most schools.  Their model has been personalised to suit the needs of their community and reflects many of the new innovations for schools today.  Their individual approach is explained as a journey and much reflection occurs on the learning.  Much was learned by having the opportunity to speak to the children at various levels and it was a privilege to see so much quality teaching practice in every classroom.  It certainly left me with much to think about and share.