Wonder by RJ Palacio, first published in 2012 is rapidly becoming a modern classic. The story is of Auggie Pullman, a 10-year old living with a rare medical facial deformity.
The story follows Auggie as he goes to school for the first time, having previously been home schooled. We see how Auggie and his family cope with this big change and how the children in the school react to his attendance.
The film has been made into a major motion picture with an all star cast. See the trailer below. I hope it can live up to the book and perhaps introduce a whole new audience to the book and make them laugh, think, wonder and cry.
Download a teacher's guide to 'Wonder' from www.literacyshedplus.com
I recently bought this companion picture book which could be used across the whole school to explore the themes in 'Wonder'
There are a number of films on The Literacy Shed which cover similar themes to those found in Wonder.
We have a teacher's guide to 'Wonder' and student response book ready to download on www.literacyshedplus.com
Today I shared VIPERS with the Redbridge Assessment Network so I thought that I would share some of the resources here. We looked at applying VIPERS to texts that could be used with a whole class, a group or during one-to-one reading.
The first text was the opening to 'The Sleeper and the Spindle' by Neil Gaiman.
(Click on the images to enlarge)
Using the VIPERS question stems, which can be downloaded here, questions can be quickly generated. Teachers can ensure that all of the main comprehension skills are covered in a single session or they can focus on one of the domains.
In this short extract from Oliver Jeffers' 'Lost and Found' we can ask each questions that would provide evidence for each of the VIPERS. (S does rely on reading the rest of the book)
Applying VIPERS to an image
It is easy to rehearse these comprehension skills using images or film. Today we looked at this image from Once Upon A Picture
V – Can you find synonyms for the word ship.
I – Are the men peaceful?
P – Where do you think the men are going? Why do you think they are going there?
E – Why do you think the sky is dark and stormy?
E – Can you say how the two boats are similar? Why is this?
R – Approximately how many men are on each ship? What power does the ship use?
S – Summarise what you can see on the ships.
Last week, I had the rather surreal experience of visiting a theme park for the first time in years without my children! It was only when I told them I was going for ‘work’ that they accepted me leaving them behind. I say ‘work’, but what I really mean is a type of recce. A teacher friend and I set off to Paulton’s Park in Hampshire to explore what is advertised as the UK’s most unique classroom, and what a delight it was. A treasure trove, resembling something one might expect to find in Hogwarts, full of a wealth of resources to support learning across the curriculum.
From a primary perspective, Professor Blast’s Lab is perfect for enhancing science, DT and computing topics beyond your usual classroom. K’Nex rollercoasters and a tour of the park’s rides allow pupils to consider different forces and how they affect the rides (physics suddenly becomes very cool!). Minibeast and Rainforest Ranger workshops look fantastic for supporting science across a range of year groups, and could also be used for cross-curricular topics. As a Year 6 teacher with a South America topic coming up, the supporting materials on deforestation and conservation brought up links to citizenship, English, geography and science- well worth a visit just for this!
Once I had explored the indoor lab, packed with pulleys, minibeasts and IT programmed K’Nex, I ventured outside to see the wildlife of Critter Creek and Beastie Burrow- brilliant for supporting learning of adaptations and animal classifications. And of course, being the thorough teacher that I am, it was only right that I checked out some of the rides, too! I’d seriously recommend flight of the Pterosaur!
If you are interested in booking a visit for your class to Paulton’s Park, go to their website for more information: https://paultonspark.co.uk/education/
This is the second list of Primary focussed teachers that I have produced. These are people that I have interacted with and followed rather than a list of people that I have looked up. Apologies if you haven't made the list but I am sure there will be a further list very soon. The first 50 can be found here.
@AllanaG13 - Secondary Leader in Primary Ed - #BAMEed Founder
@Brogan_Mr - #WhatItaughttoday Deputy Head
@cazzash - Deputy head and children's book fan
@ChrisChivers2 - Francophile and all round knowledgeable guy
@Claresealy - Primary Head Teacher in that there London
@DaisyMay29 - Teacher, Reader, Writer, Dreamer
@Darynsimon - Teacher often at the heart of the debate
@etaknipsa - Curiosity hasn't killed this primary teacher... yet!
@ey_inspiration1 - Early years duet
@GalwayMr - Part of the amazing Herts for Learning team
@gareth_metcalfe - He sees maths!
@geordiecat2012 - Cat lady teacher
@hengehall ICT Master Wizard
@HeyMissPrice - Always sharing great Literacy ideas
@HopeStreetBlues - Member of the optimistic SLT society
@isright - I wouldn't want to walk a week in his shoes he runs too far!
@JulesDaulby Literacy, SEND and a penguin
@librarymice - School Librarian sharing great books
@Libwithattitude - with attitude like this the books are never late back
@lobroo - My oldest Antipodean twitter pal!
@macfin76 - Y1 teacher who likes a ramble
@Marygtroche Almost legendary critical thinking bookworm
@MaryMyatt - Hopeful about schools
@Mr_P_hillips - Friend, Teacher, Entertainer (in that order)
@MrBKing1988 - A thoroughly entertaining twitter feed
@MrBReading - One of my 'go to' book peeps
@MrBoothY6 - Computing lead who loves books even more than computers!
@MrEFinch - Generally irritated except when on a reading spree
@MrGPrimary - his bio says incompetent but I can't believe that!
@MrMarchayes - holder of multiple learning powers
@nancygedge - SEND legend!
@NikkiGamble - Off exploring children's literature
@OldPrimaryHead1 - <--Does what it says on the tin!
@Parky_teaches - Love of books, StarWars and Night Zoos
@pickleholic - Headteacher of Hogwarts
@pivotalpaul - Teacher wrangler
@primarypercival - Genius behind the Ladybird book of Edutwitter
@rachelrossiter - SENDco checking your ladder is against the right wall
@RobertsNiomi - Laminating Queen ;)
@Sarah_Jayne1982 - Teaching the next generation
@Sarah_Wright1 - Enthusiastic Senior Primary Edu Lecturer
@Skippity_doo - Another awesome librarian sharing awesome books
@Thatboycanteach - Positive teacher knocking out some great blogs
@theprimaryhead - the definite article
@trainingtoteach - filled with positivity for the job - will he change his twitter handle soon?
@Vocabularyninja - Creeps up behind you and shares words of the day
(PS I know there are only 45 but I have left some space for when people inform me who I have missed out) As always I welcome your comments.
Plus follow the new subject specific Primary Rocks threads for themed ideas and discussions. #primaryrocks (more coming soon too)
I have planned a long blog about reading. How it is more than just decoding the words and when using a picture book the pictures are not there to help the children decode the words but to add to the narrative and enhance the story tenfold. However, I am now on holiday, we have a new website to launch, a publisher deadline looming for the new book and two children to keep entertained. If you would like to read a great blog about reading and picture books then I recommend this blog by @sputniksteve.
This blog is going to be about a little boy called Monty. (here he is below)
Monty is going to be two years old in July and already he likes sharing books with his Mummy, brother and me - his Daddy.
Today we visited Bamburgh Castle and he chose, alongside a sponge sword, this beautiful book by Petr Horacek. This is what happened when we got back to the cottage and read it.
'Puffin Peter' is a story about two puffins; one called Peter and one called Paul. One day whilst out diving there was a 'big, big storm. Peter was lost.'
I have been thinking about and researching how to improve comprehension skills using a range of high quality texts, images, picture books and of course film.
After a number of sessions with children in schools using the new content domains, which can be found on the gov.uk website, I found that all of the key comprehension skills were being covered through the domains. As some of you who follow this blog will know, I like a mnemonic. So I set about thinking about a mnemonic that could be used by teachers, other adults who read with children and also the children themselves. My first attempt - MR SIP TEA was not the catchiest so we have come up with Reading Vipers. Vipers cover the key comprehension skills in line with the 'new' content domains.
At Literacy Shed the minions are now busy making a whole host of resources that will link to Reading Vipers. There are now 30+ Film VIPERS on www.literacyshedplus.com
We are also creating a range of comprehension materials based on extracts from classic texts such as Black Beauty, The Time Machine, Robinson Crusoe and many more which will soon be available here. www.literacyshedplus.com Until then you can download The Time Machine sample (as seen below) by clicking here. =
The same key viper skills can be rehearsed effectively using single images or picture books.
Take a look at this example using the picture book 'Return' by Aaron Becker.
There are over 30 sets of VIPERS questions for the Literacy Shed films now on www.literacyshedplus.com
The question stem documents can be downloaded by click on the relevant image below.
As always comments are welcome!
Click the text below for further reading.
Today I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote at a conference in Wolverhampton today alongside some great speakers and the team from Wolverhampton LEA.
One thing I will take away is using technology to aid spelling in writing. Mark Smith and others demonstrated how Siri can be used to aid those children whose spelling problems stop them from using a dictionary properly. His example was with children looking up 'mystery' in the dictionary by searching in the m-i-s- section and being unable to find the word they want.
Here is a video of Noah in Y2 asking Siri to spell 'Caterpillar' for him:
As you can see in the video as well as displaying the written spelling it also reads the spelling to the child.
We then tried it with a homophone 'allowed' with mixed results. There is also an option on Google Search using the microphone button there. Here is what happened:
So as you can see it may be that homophones confuse the situation, but it could still be a useful tool for some children.
We were advised today that if this is normal classroom practice that STA will accept it as independent writing for assessment purposes. (when used for single words and not whole sentences)
Even if you do not think you would like to use it in independent writing it could be useful for novice writers in other year groups who can write but struggle with spelling.
Comments welcome as ever.
I have been on twitter as @redgierob since the 16th of May 2011 and I consider myself a fully-fledged ‘edutweeter’ with over 66,000 tweets to my name.
Recently ‘edutwitter’ seems to have become increasingly embittered although predominantly there is some amazing sharing and support going on. (There may be a list of fabulous edutweeters to come in another blog!)
I thought I would share some advice about how to go about twitter which you can follow or choose to ignore if you want. Sometimes I need to remind myself of these rules too!
Get rid of your egg!
An egg can make you look like you have a fake account or are in transit from one account to another. Choose whether you’re going to be yourself or use an alias but decide quickly and then get tweeting.
Twitter is first and foremost a social platform so try to be social. If this means you are the quiet one at the party watching from the side-lines, then that is fine and if you are the gregarious one dancing in the middle of the lounge arms flailing wildly remember that the quiet ones are there trying to have a quiet conversation too. I have met people and made very dear friends through twitter and it is always great meeting people, who you have only ever chatted with through twitter, for the first time.
Don’t Judge Publicly! (One I sometimes struggle with too)
Teachers love to share a range of things their accomplishments, their passions, their worries and their questions. If a teacher shares a piece of work, a lesson plan or a simple idea then it doesn’t give you the right to judge it unless they ask you directly for an opinion. Imagine you saw a couple of people trying on clothes in your local fashion hotspot and one asks the other, ‘How do I look?’ you wouldn’t wander over and tell her that it doesn’t suit, makes her look older than she is and actually went out of fashion several months ago. You certainly wouldn’t call your friend over and repeat it to them and hopefully you wouldn’t pull your phone out of your pocket, snap a pic and send it to your friend to judge too.
Pretend it is real life! (Don’t be a keyboard warrior)
Speak to people with the grace and courteousness that you would in real life. If someone asks to retire from a conversation, then allow them to. Delete or untag people from specific threads if it is requested. Declining the offer is tantamount to chasing them down the street and shouting your argument in their face whilst they try to walk away.
Don’t quote tweet selected tweets from a thread out of context in order to prove a point. It is very rude. Refer to the last rule – would you do this in real life?
Don’t tag people using their twitter handle (@______) into posts to garner support for a cause or an argument without first asking them. Either address the tweet to them publicly asking for their support; ask permission in a separate thread or use a relevant hashtag.
Letting off steam about school?
Want to rant about your own school? Twitter is probably not the best place to do it. Remember your SLT can easily see your tweets or someone else could share your tweets with them as it is an open forum – unless you protect your tweets which defeats the object of twitter really. If you need a rant – gather some good friends that you can trust and create a private group chat!
I welcome your comments always!
@_geekyteacher - enthusiastic user of iPads and Minecraft
@ATaleUnfolds - Amazing film creating and writing resources
@athole - Scottish film educator soon to be expert in Chinese cinema
@BBCteaching - made the list because he is from Ramsbottom too!
@beazeley - A parachuting headteacher (metaphorically that is)
@Bennett31 - Superhero head teacher in Oldham
@f33lthesun - Deputy head and SEND expert
@Blandpoet - poet extraordinaire
@booksfortopics - need a book for a topic? They'll point you to one.
@bryngoodman - Primary Rocker
@carole_XLIX - she'll land you in deep water (swimming) exceedingly good cakes!
@ChrisDysonHT - Leeds! But we won't hold that against him
@gazneedle - The legend behind Primary Rocks
@goodman_ang - Primary Rocker
@grahamandre - Numeracy shed maker and primary rocker
@HYWEL_ROBERTS - Roving teacher
@ICT_MrP - iPad starlet and Mrs May watcher
@ICTEvangelist - Tech specialist
@ieconsultancy - Teacher and writer of mastery resources
@imagineinquiry - He wears an expert mantle
@janeconsidine - made of the write stuff
@jennaLucas81 - Primary rocker
@jon_brunskill - knows his stuff, research led teaching with well organised knowledge
@jonnybid - teacher of a class that seriously read!
@jordyjax - SEND expert based in Lancashire
@jmpneale - once took me for fish and chips at Weymouth Harbour
@teacherstarr - Deputy head in Nottingham
@KCLynchey - Drive behind #TMRammy Y4/5 Teacher
@leah_moo - Primary Rocker
@elearning_laura - North Tyneside eLearning lead teacher
@Mat_at_Brookes - knows a lot about books
@MichaelT1979 - Finger on the pulse, TES columnist, assessment leader, deputy head.
@MissSMerrill - Primary Rocker
@MrHeadComputing - Primary Rocker
@mrlockyer - has hundreds of good ideas
@MrsPteach - whole class reading expert
@MrTRoach - Y6 teacher in Oldham Great to discuss things with sensibly
@farrowmr - Primary Rocker and press up machine
@rpd1972 - self confessed perfectionist
@russbrownauthor - SEND teacher, writer and circus performer
@Ruth_Leask - Head teacher who is now a wise old owl.
@samdaunt - Editor of PrimEd and curator of Once upon a picture
@shaunh0pper - Teacher from the North East filled with passion for writing.
@shinpad1 - Soon to be Dr. Shinpad!
@simonpobble - one of the founders of Pobble and great guy.
@smithsmm - I thought I was a children's book enthusiast until I met him.
@Sue_Cowley - My go to for EYFS advice.
@teacherwriterPJ - Poet and writer settled in a northern Villagetown
@TemplarWilson - Whole class reading expert too with her friend ERIC
@watsed - Will help you take the inside outside or the outside in!
I am sorry if you are not on the list it wasn't intentional. If you think I am missing someone off the list that would be great for primary tweeps to follow then please tell us in a comment.
I first heard about Slow Writing at a #researched session delivered by David Didau, @learningspy when he talked about asking children to slow down when writing, cut the waffle and focus on every single word or sentence that they construct. I went away and read all he had written about Slow Writing on his blog where he has now helpfully grouped all the slow writing blogs.
I have used Slow Writing successfully over and over again. I have recommended it to many schools who also feedback that it has 'transformed' writing for some children.
New to slow writing?
Just start with 6 - 8 prompts. Allow no choice. This makes it a constrained piece and children have to really think about each and every sentence in the paragraph.
An example may be:
1. Your sentence must start with a verb.
2. Your sentence must contain a simile
3. Your sentence must use a relative clause.
4. Your sentence must be 3 words only.
5. Your sentence must use start with a time phrase.
6. Your sentence must use a modal verb.
Don't just copy and paste this one but think about what you want your pupils to achieve in that single paragraph. With slow writing it is about quality and not quantity. Get the children to work double spaced and then go back and edit these six sentences until 'perfect' (or as close as they can get). Once they are familiar with this concept they can choose the order or you can increase the number of prompts and allow them to choose from the list.
You can see an example of it in action here: Chaperon Rouge Blog
"But this isn't independent!" "Moderators won't like it..". You may say. However, this is not for moderators, it isn't for teacher assessment. This is to allow children to practise their skills, which hopefully they will then use in their independent writing.
Slow writing can be differentiated. You could make a number of lists dependent on ability or once children are familiar with the concept you could give them a choice of options. See diagram below.
Green: Y3 objectives.
Yellow Y4 objectives.
Orange Y5 objectives.
Purple Y6 objectives.
The children in this mixed-age/mixed-ability class were allowed to start where they wanted although the class teacher did guide some pupils as required.
As always I look forward to receiving comments.
Rob from Literacy Shed