Next steps!

Christine Dalman and I have been working together investigating our mutual interest in play and inquiry based learning in early primary. We have joined forces over the past year and a half and have decided to present our findings. We created a proposal and submitted it to the Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching ( WestCAST) annual conference committee. This years conference is being held at the University of Manitoba at the end of February. Our proposal was accepted and we are very excited to be sharing our workshop ‘Inquiry through play in a primary setting’ to fellow pre-service teachers! To help prepare for the conference we held a run through at VIU which was attended by 4th and 5th year Bachelor of education students. Below are a few pictures of our workshop.

‘In our schools today we see a unique diversity of students. As educators we are trying to find the most meaningful way to inspire learners to develop and grow as individuals. Play brings students passions and interests in an organic form’

-Christine Dalman and Lindsy Friendship, WestCAST proposal

Watch this space as I document our WestCAST adventure!

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What does implementing literacy look like to me?

It’s one thing to have a personal passion for literacy, but how will I spike a similar interest in my students? I can’t just stand at the front of the class and tell them why it’s important to read and write, and how much more FUN life is when this passion drives the will.

I still have a semester filled with many weeks of practicum ahead of me, so in this time, I plan on finding ways to implement practical and intriguing ways to incorporate literacy into my teaching!

Once I reach my inevitable goal of being a teacher librarian, I believe it will be easier to encourage the students by showing them how great literacy can be! I will see each class about once a week, for a short period of time. For the younger grades, I will be able to chose a book for their select class, tailored to their interests, and to current events happening in the city or in our school. For me, I believe this is where the idea of how neat books really are arose. For the older grades, I will be their resource for finding information they are searching for. I will be able to talk to each of them, and help them find the answers they are in search of. This is so exciting to me! As a student, I relied on the librarian for help, in all areas, and I was usually pleasantly surprised with all they that knew. I cannot wait to be that resource for my future students.

Before any of that is possible, the students need to learn HOW to read and write. Although as the librarian, I will be able to assist them on this path, I will not be able to be there for each student in the school, even though I wish I could. The learning of this starts and continues in the classroom. From an early age, the students will begin with activities to learn to read and write the alphabet. From here, they will start to build and recognize words. There are endless ideas on Pinterest, to find exciting ways to implement these types of activities. Hands on activities are so great for the littles!! By using natural resources, like flat rocks, and writing or painting on letters, this is really ideal for them to start creating their own words. Start with simple things, like their name, and continue to grow deeper into this, by helping them create or recognize words like “cat” and “dog”.

Invitation to write children's names - Puzzles Family Day Care                Sigh Word Fun with Natural Materials from Mummy Musings and Mayhem! #literacy

This is a great and simple way to work on words. This can be adapted to many levels, its just handy for them to be able to touch and move the letters around. Also, this way, if they make a mistake, they won’t feel stuck, they can just move the letters around and start over!

 

 

Resources:

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sight-word-play-outdoors.html

 

Key take away’s for Inquiry based learning

 

Through out this process I have learned a lot about all aspects of inquiry. I feel that it is important to share these key pieces of information for those who wish to start their own inquiry journey.

  1. Start small! Inquiry does not have to be big! It can be an investigation into a small topic that may only last a week
  2. It is OKAY for the initial process to be teacher directed, there is a lot of information and various ways to approach this way of learning. To be successful during this phase you need to find what works for you! It is a growing process, one that you and your students are learning together
  3. If the inquiry is based off of students interests their learning, participation and excitement will be meaningful and will help to facilitate a community of learners
  4. Share the learning with parents and community, this will provide parents the opportunity to have a concrete understanding of what is happening in your classroom. It may also encourage parent volunteers, they are your best resource!
  5. Have fun!!

Resources

These are a couple of my favourite resources for adults and children. Some of the adult resources are not Inquiry specific, I have included books on play, loose parts, Reggio, emergent curriculum and project based learning. I have used these various books for understanding and inspiration as they all have a common thread. Children’s voice is powerful and important, the adults role as a facilitator and most importantly Teachers learn alongside children.

Websites

Kindergarten room in an inquiry setting ( video)

Kindergarten room in an inquiry setting ( dream setting!) Video

Focus on inquiry (a long read but easy to pick out specific information) 

The power of play

Reggio inspired provocations

inspiration #1

-inspiration #2- notice the documentation!

Teacher Resources

Children’s Books

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Creating a plan

I have begun looking looking closely at the notes and quotes that I record during my last time with my practicum class along with the pictures I took ( posted in my previous post) One of the interests that emerged from their play was keeping their animals warm during hibernation. Pieces of tin foil and cotton balls had been added to the loose parts table to support the learning of winter. There is some background knowledge on this topic as the class had been learning about seasonal changes. I had initially begun to support this inquiry using a integrated concept map from Connecting the dots by Stan Kozak and Susan Elliot. I found this approach to be to ridged for the needs of my class ( based on previous experiences) and my approach as a facilitator so instead I used it to help guide the inquiry. I found a mind map to be more user friendly where we could easily add more questions and ideas. I also feel that having the mind map posted will help to make children’s learning visible as there will be connections to the curriculum, as well as student voice. Below is the beginning stages of our mind map, this version is more teacher directed as I have not had the opportunity to evolve this interest with my practicum class. This evolving document was created based on questions I had overheard while children were playing. There is a strong possibility that when I return to practicum in three weeks time this interest will have been met or changed. I felt it was important for my learning to start to develop this mind map to put my learning and experience into practice.

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Photo’s that demonstrate this interest

Curriculum connections

Activity- Graphing our thoughts on which animals hibernate in the Comox Valley

Science

Big idea– Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment.

Curricular Competencies

-Make simple predictions about familiar objects and events

-Sort and classify data and information using drawings, pictographs and provided tables

-Make and record observations

Activity- Inviting L.O’S dad into our class to discuss his experience with tracking

Social Studies

Big idea-We shape the local environment, and the local environment shapes who we are and how we live.

Curricular Competencies

Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions

Many more connections can be made to the curriculum including the core competencies, please let me know if you would like more information.

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Development in the Content Demands – Reading

Emergent Literacy is the “foundation for reading and writing development” (McDevitt and Ormrod, 2007, p358). Reading to children is very important as this is how their knowledge is built. Parents and other adults should read to their children, model to them how to read and write, take them to libraries, and discuss the books they are reading (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007).

Phonological Awareness

  • Phonological awareness is “the ability to hear the distinct sounds within words” (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007, p. 359). Teachers assess this through observation to see what students already know or have learned.
  • An onset is “on or more consonants that precede the vowel sound” (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007, p. 359). The rime is “the vowel sound and only consonants that follow it” (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007, p. 359). Most children can identify phonemes by 6 or 7 years old.

Word Recognition

  • Students will eventually start recognizing words that they see often or start to recognize patterns between words to understand what they are. Around mid-elementary most students will have a automatic sight word vocabulary (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007). To strengthen this aspect of reading use activities that teach “letter-sound relationships, common spelling patterns, and context clues to decipher words” (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007, p. 360).

Comprehension

  • Comprehension is being able to retell the main ideas of a story, make inferences while you are reading, and predictions about what is going to happen. Students should be able to understand the words of the books they read. They will use their prior knowledge and what they already know to make sense of what they are reading. Beginning readers at age 5 or 6 should be able to tell if a story is fact or fiction. In later elementary, students should be able to tell that different authors believe different things(McDevitt and Ormord, 2007).

Metacognition

  • Once students have mastered phonological awareness and comprehension they will start backtracking while reading, use multiple strategies to make sense of what they are reading and will have an increased fluency (McDevitt and Ormord, 2007).

McDevitt, Teresa M.. Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis. (2007). Child Development and Education. S.l.: Pearson.

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Developmental Warning Signs

There are specific developmental milestones that students need to hit in a consecutive order as they grow up. Listed below are some of the warning signs. The website is targeted to parents; however, this information is very useful as an educator as well. Noticing these warning signs is the first step to an assessment which could possibly lead to an IEP or a IFSP. An IEP is an “Individual Education Plan” which is a detailed plan pertaining to a child’s disability and is designed with goals to help a child succeed at school. An ISFP is an “Individualized Family Service Plan” which is a services plan that is family centred, it lists the child’s developmental stage, resources for the family, services that will be provided and any other important family information.

  • “Behavioural Warning Signs
    • Does not pay attention or stay focused on an activity for as long a time as other children of the same age
    • Focuses on unusual objects for long periods of time; enjoys this more than interacting with others
    • Avoids or rarely makes eye contact with others
    • Gets unusually frustrated when trying to do simple tasks that most children of the same age can do
    • Shows aggressive behaviours and acting out and appears to be very stubborn compared with other children
    • Displays violent behaviours on a daily basis
    • Stares into space, rocks body, or talks to self more often than other children of the same age
    • Does not seek love and approval from a caregiver or parent”
  • “Gross Motor Warning Signs
    • Has stiff arms and/or legs
    • Has a floppy or limp body posture compared to other children of the same age
    • Uses one side of body more than the other
    • Has a very clumsy manner compared with other children of the same age”
  • “Vision Warning Signs
    • Seems to have difficulty following objects or people with his/her eyes
    • Rubs eyes frequently
    • Turns, tilts or holds head in a strained or unusual position when trying to look at an object
    • Has difficulty focusing or making eye contact
    • Closes one eye when trying to look at distant objects
    • Eyes appear to be crossed or turned
    • Brings objects too close to eyes to see
    • One or both eyes appear abnormal in size or colouring”
  • “Hearing Warning Signs
    • Talks in a very loud or very soft voice
    • Seems to have difficulty responding when called from across the room, even when it is for something interesting
    • Turns body so that the same ear is always turned toward sound
    • Has difficulty understanding what has been said or following directions after turning 3 years of age
    • Doesn’t startle to loud noises
    • Ears appear small or deformed
    • Fails to develop sounds or words that would be appropriate at her age”

(n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2018, from http://www.howkidsdevelop.com/index.html

 

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Developmental Stages

Infancy (birth- two years)
  • At this stage babies use non-verbal communications to tell their caregivers their wants and needs such as crying, smiling, or pointing.
  • Babies are very curious and want to learn. If they feel safe it will foster their desire to learn new things and begin to be physically active.

Early Childhood (two-six years)

  • Students are developing rapidly at this stage. They are starting to learn language and are increasing their ability to communicate.
  • Educators should teach children proper output for their energy and encourage them to play in a variety of ways. Learners this age will need assistance with taking naps, going to the washroom and washing their hands.

Middle Childhood (six-ten years)

  • Learners at this age are starting to pay attention to the real world around them. They still like pretend play but not as much as earlier years.
  • Children this age tend to “learn to read and write, cook and clean house, apply rules in games and sports, care for younger brothers and sisters, and use computer technology” (McDevitt and Ormrod, 2007).
  • At this age, students start to make friendships and compare themselves to others.
  • Students at this developmental period will do better on school work if it is on a topic they are familiar with.
  • Try find subjects you can teach them through connections through things they already know.
  • Have lots of visuals in your classroom, such as posters of the topic being studied, math charts, or maps for geography. A word wall will help with writing. Use lots of manipulatives in your lessons for a hands on learning.
  • Design your classroom so that you have a reading area with couches for relaxing reading. Furthermore, classrooms are more best equipped with books and computers.

Early Adolescence (ten-fourteen years)

  • At this stage, students are slowly losing their childlike appearance. They go through puberty and have hormonal changes with mood swings. They process learning and relationships differently now and worry about what others think about them.
  • Educators should communicate with affection and respect, and have high expectations from learners.
  • Students each have individual needs that will need to be met and need to have the message conveyed to them that they belong.

McDevitt, Teresa M.. Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis. (2007). Child Development and Education. S.l.: Pearson.

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Resources to Explore

I have come across some great resource that I thought I would compile together that supports our passion of piecing inquiry and play together.

Websites:

http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/informationsheets

http://www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMATION%20SHEETS/Play%20types.pdf

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/play-work-of-children/pl3/#.WmwDN60ZP-Y

http://www.naturalcuriosity.ca/inpractice.php?m=p

 

http://www.foundintheforest.com/

http://www.inquiry-based.com/index.html

http://www.labschool.org/podium/default.aspx?t=136085

Books:

The Unscript Classroom by Susan Stacey

Emergent Curriculum by Susan Stacey

Working in the Reggio Way by Julianne P Wurm

Constructivism Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms -Big Ideas as Inspirations by Christine Chaille

Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown

Natural Curiosity by The Laboratory School at The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

Connecting the Dots by Stan Kozak & Susan Elliot

 

 

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Resources to Explore

I have come across some great resource that I thought I would compile together that supports our passion of piecing inquiry and play together.

Websites:

http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/informationsheets

http://www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMATION%20SHEETS/Play%20types.pdf

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/play-work-of-children/pl3/#.WmwDN60ZP-Y

http://www.naturalcuriosity.ca/inpractice.php?m=p

 

http://www.foundintheforest.com/

http://www.inquiry-based.com/index.html

http://www.labschool.org/podium/default.aspx?t=136085

Books:

The Unscript Classroom by Susan Stacey

Emergent Curriculum by Susan Stacey

Working in the Reggio Way by Julianne P Wurm

Constructivism Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms -Big Ideas as Inspirations by Christine Chaille

Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown

Natural Curiosity by The Laboratory School at The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

Connecting the Dots by Stan Kozak & Susan Elliot

 

 

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Assessment Tools

Here is a link I found to a guide called Pocket Assessment. This guide gives teachers access to 70 quick formative assessment ideas. The website you have to sign up for in order to view this resource also gives teachers access to a variety of different resources ranging from growth mindset to lesson planning,etc. (There is in app purchases)

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Picture used from Global Digital Citizen Foundation

Access this guide here:Pocket Assessment Guide

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