Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why Blog

Chris Betcher is celebrating his 1 year anniversary of blogging and he pondered about why he blogs and why it is important to him. I actually started my blog on October 12 2005 although it took a while to get into a regular routine. I'm not as prolific as Chris (he has written an average of three posts a week) but I have written 84 posts most of which have been written in the last half of 2006 and 2007. I remember writing a few posts about the topic of blogging last year. And I guess I haven't really changed my mind over that time. I still write to keep a record of what I have been thinking and doing mostly at school. I like the fact that it's there for me to go back to. Not that I do very often though.
I do like to think that it keeps me in track professionally though. I have even used my blog as a record of my personal professional development and have presented it as evidence of progress in our Performance and Development process at school.
Like Chris I'm not sure that there are many people who read it and unlike Chris's, I don't think mine is terribly insightful or clever. But for whatever reason I still do like to see my words in print even if I am the only one who reads it. Even so I do like reading other blogs and it's often where I get ideas to think about. It's all very social and friendly and a wonderful way to keep in touch with some pretty amazing educators.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reading - What works

We recently had a discussion at our school about the value of Reading Recovery as an intervention program for students in Grade One who for whatever reason have not learnt to read as expected. As an ex Reading Recovery teacher I was very disheartened to hear that our region is reducing the level of support provided to schools to run the Reading Recovery program by changing the training of new teachers to every second year instead of every year. I'm not sure what this means for RR teachers who are already trained and working in schools. Traditionally they have a 6 weekly meeting called Continuing Contact where they meet with their RR tutor and discuss the progress of their students.
Today I came across an interesting article at the What Works Clearing House - a website that provides scientific evidence of what works in education. The article, entitled Beginning Reading discusses reading interventions for students in grades K–3 (or ages 5-8) that are intended to increase skills in alphabetics (phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, letter recognition, print awareness and phonics), reading fluency, comprehension (vocabulary and reading comprehension), or general reading achievement. According to the studies done so far Reading Recovery is the only one that has shown effectiveness in all four of the above areas. It simply reinforces what I have believed all along. The Reading Recovery program really does work. I have seen it in action and I know of many ex students who have continued to soar once they have been through the program. Without it they may have been in the too high percentage of children who slip through the cracks and end up without a functioning literacy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maybe the message is getting through

Today I was working with a Grade 5/6 class. They are building their Digital Portfolios in Powerpoint and while they have learnt lots of technical and practical skills the impressive thing are the ideas and thoughts that many of them are adding. But what blew me away today was a conversation I heard between three students. One was showing the others some images oon his DP of his pet lizard. The conversation went something like this. Student One: this is my pet lizard Lucky. Student Two: what is that other picture of a lizard? Is that Lucky too? Student Three: I don't think that is Lucky. I think you copied it from the internet. Student Two: What about copyright? Remember we're not allowed to just get pictures from the internet if they are copyrighted. Student One: Hmmm okay I did copy it. I'll delete it and get another real picture of Lucky from home.
All this happened without the kids knowing that I was listening. I was pretty rapt as earlier this year we did some lessons around copyright but I wasn't sure whether it sunk in. At least it did with these three!