Farewell Deb Hicks

Today is the last day that Ms Deb Hicks is at SAEPS and it is a sad day indeed. She has been an amazing e-Learning coach. Without her this blog would certainly not exist.

Deb was VERY patient in teaching me all that I needed to know. I was definitely not her easiest to teach pupil.

Thankfully (for everyone) Deb made the mysteries of technology manageable over many months. She was always cheerful when confronted with technological drama and and mini meltdowns. From iPads to Pinterest to blogging, Deb has been a constant mentor.

Thank you so much Deb. I wish you well in your new role in town and hope that you are greatly appreciated!

Slainte mhath Sassenach!

 

End of Year 2017

Another school year is quickly coming to a close. There is the excitement of new grades and teachers, class parties and holiday celebrations.

Reading Recovery teacher, Mrs Bowen, has been busy compiling the SAEPS Reading Recovery Annual Report.

 

The following information is taken from the 2018 report:

  • 16 Grade 1 students accessed Reading Recovery during 2018.
  • The average text level of the students at the beginning of their program was Level 2.
  • The average text level of the students at the end of their program was Level 17.
  • The average text level of the students at the end of the year was Level 18.
  • 2 students will complete their program in Term 1 2018.

Congratulations to all of the students who were committed to their own progress and made the most of each learning opportunity. Thank you to the parents who encouraged and praised their children, and supervised the daily homework.Thank you to the classroom teachers for your interest and collaboration, and thank you to the leadership team for your continued support of Reading Recovery at SAEPS.

Comic conversation

I have been reflecting on some of the discussions that I have had with my students during the year. We always talk about a new book before the student attempts to read it for the 1st time. I usually ask questions to find out if the student has had similar experiences, and will understand what is happening in the story.

 Here are just a few snippets of our conversations:

Me: It’s time for the three pigs to leave home and make their own houses.
Student: Who’s that?
Me: Who do you think? (It was Mother Pig who was wearing an apron.)
Student: The maid.
 
Me: The Big Billy Goat Gruff butted the troll off the bridge.
Student: He didn’t hit the troll with his butt. Look. See the big horns. He did a big push with his horns. Horns would hurt.
 
Student: My mum wanted to call the new baby Rose but my dad didn’t like it.
Me: What did Dad want to call her?
Student: Patrick
 
Student: Why are the plant eaters (dinosaurs) hiding in the water, and the forest?
Me: Because they don’t want T-Rex to get them.
Student: T-Rex only eats meat.
Me: Dinosaurs are made of meat.
Student: Only meat eaters are made of meat.
Me: Plant eaters are made of meat too.
Student: No, you are not understanding. Plant eaters only eat plants so they’re made of plants. T Rex won’t eat them.
 
Me: Triceratops is a long name so you can just say Tri every time you see that name.
Student: I’m going to call him Rose.
 
Me: What did you just call T-Rex?
Student: Team Red. He’s got a new name too.
 
Me: Does the tooth fairy come to your house?
Student: Only when she wants some teeth.
 
Me: Does the tooth fairy come to your house?
(Different) Student: Yes! My dad pulled my tooth out and it hurt and there was a little bit of blood!
Me: And did the tooth fairy come?
Student: She put $5 in Mum’s bag.
 
Me: Do you think that the mouse should be allowed to eat the bread?
Student: Yes
Me: But only Duck and Rabbit helped Magpie. The mouse wouldn’t do any of the jobs to make the bread.
Student: The mouse was too little. Little kids don’t do the food. It’s not fair if the mums and dads don’t feed them.
Me: The problem wasn’t that the mouse was too little. The mouse was too lazy to help.
Student: Look at it. It’s little.
Me: Maybe they gave some bread to the mouse later.
Student: They have to because that’s the law.
 
Thank you to all my students who enlighten me with their wisdom, and provide quite a few chuckles along the way.

 

Observation Survey

What is the testing that the Reading Recovery teachers are busy doing in preparation for writing reports? It is the Observation Survey. If you are interested you can read some previous posts I have written about it.

What is an Observation Survey?

End of Year Testing

Changes over time in HRSW

Decoding and Comprehension

Giving the Observation Survey (for the purposes of writing the reports) prior to the final testing for the end of year data gives me an opportunity to see what further learning needs to happen during these last few weeks.

Even though it is close to the end of the school year, please do not keep your child away from school more than is necessary.

Thanks

 

Testing times

It’s that time of the year again! The frantic testing and writing of reports signals it’s time for the picture on the left to make another appearance.

Most students are very close to finishing Reading Recovery and they are trying to do as well as they can before they are discontinued.

 

Some of the students may not be quite ready to finish their series of lessons by the end of the year so 1 or 2 will possibly continue at the beginning of 2018 when they are in Year 2.

The Reading Recovery students who finished earlier in the year are currently being tested so that this information can be added to their reports. The results so far have been very pleasing. Soon I will also be testing the current students for their reports. These students will continue with their lessons after this testing for as long as possible before their final testing when they will either be discontinued or carried over into next year.

Homework, especially reading, should still be happening every day. It’s not the holidays yet! (Unless your name is Melissa and you are getting married on Friday! Have a great day!)

Moving on from early levels

Alas I am still absent from school whilst I recuperate from a small operation. On the positive side, at least it gives me an opportunity to catch up on lots of reading! I really value the posts written by Alison at Learning At The Primary Pond.

Her following post explains why Reading Recovery teachers are strongly advised to move students beyond reading Levels 1 and 2 books as quickly as possible. (Click on one of the links below to take you to the entire post at Learning At The Primary Pond.) 

The Problem with Using Patterned Books to Teach Children How to Read

Reading and the Brain

I’m finalizing the Reading Recovery student reports at the moment so my brain is being stretched. If you are interested in stretching your brain you might like to look at some (or all) of these videos. The professor uses a lot of ‘professor type’ language so don’t feel obliged to keep watching! (It makes sense if you already know what he’s talking about… well mostly…!!)

Reading and the Brain: The 3 Cueing Systems by Dr Andy Johnson ( a Reading Specialist and Professor of Literacy at Minnesota University)

READING: 3-CUEING SYSTEMS part 1

READING:3-CUEING SYSTEMS part 2

READING: 3-CUEING SYSTEMS part 3

READING AND THE BRAIN: WORD IDENTIFICATION

Eye Movement: We See With Our Brains

Miscue Analysis Eye Movement Research

Writing about reading

Our last Reading Recovery Ongoing Professional Development session concentrated on lifting the performance of our students in writing.

Currently the students are mostly writing shorter sentences, and choosing easier words compared to those that they can read within their books. Our tutor challenged us to enable our students to compose messages that reflect the complexity of the reading levels that they are reading. 

One of the suggestions from our tutor was to have the student ‘write about reading’, i.e. to occasionally pick out 3 words from a recently read book and to use these words as a basis to compose an interesting piece of writing.

The following examples are what my students wrote the 1st time I tried out this useful idea.

Each student was responsible for looking through a book to pick out 3 ‘interesting’ words which I wrote on a small whiteboard. We then talked about possible ideas and phrases that could contain the 3 ‘special’  words. Each student surprised me by how efficiently he / she adapted to this scaffolding (support) for composing. I thought that they did a great job for a 1st attempt at including specific words.

STUDENT 1  (Roaming)
Ben made a puzzle. It is a dinosaur puzzle.
Based on Ben’s Jigsaw Puzzle. Level 5

STUDENT 2 (my go-to student when one on my RR students is away)
Nick and Snowy were playing on the swing. The teddy had to be white so he had a wash.
Based on Snowy Gets A Wash. Level 7

STUDENT 3
Baby Bear and Mother Bear went into the forest to get some nuts. The squirrels were hiding some nuts.
Based on Baby Bear Climbs A Tree. Level 9

STUDENT 4
The spark came from the mower. The firefighters put water on the fire from the hose on the fire engine.
Based on Fire At The Farm. Level 14 / 15

I am going to continue to use this idea of picking out 3 words for a while, as I think it will positively impact on the students’ vocabulary. (i.e. students may naturally use more interesting words in their daily sentences, even when they are not asked to pick out any specific words from their reading.)  The student is only reading 1 familiar book to free up more time for writing.

Writing

The Reading Recovery teachers met in Ballarat for our Ongoing Professional Learning this past Friday. It is always good to catch up with the other teachers to learn from each other and our hardworking tutor.

The focus this time was writing. It is often a challenge to lift the performance of our students in this area. The majority of students seem to find reading easier than writing.

We watched a podcast, delved into the writing section of our new guide book, discussed handouts and generally felt challenged to try some new strategies with our students.

As a result of all the recent discussion about writing, I have added a page to this blog with some suggested writing goals (adapted from a handout) that may correspond to the reading levels.