Posts Tagged ‘ best practices ’

Sorting Things Out – An Update

Jun 24th, 2012 | By

Organizing is hard-wired into our brains – our brains love patterns and repetition.  The concept of similarity, or sameness, is a basic organizing strategy . . . a way to be aware of and recognize common characteristics of things seen, heard, or felt.  With the awareness of sameness comes the awareness of difference, another basic organizing strategy. Information that is sorted out through the process of comparing & contrasting (thinking about the similarities and the differences) has high storage strength, and as a result, also has high retrieval strength. The underlying cognitive constructs of polarity, category inclusion and exclusion, are part of the brain’s hard-wired organizational default.  In education, we use the terms “alike”, “same”, “go together” and “not different” to teach and reinforce “sameness”, while the terms “different”, “don’t go together”, and “not the same” teach and reinforce “difference”.  Other ways to express the idea of inclusion include “goes with” and “belongs”, while exclusion can be expressed by “doesn’t go with” or “doesn’t belong”. These very basic concepts of inclusion and exclusion can be infused into the literacy process of connecting sound to print through the use of Visual Phonics hand shapes and symbols, beginning as early as pre-school.  [...]

Trouble Shooting for Early Literacy Struggles – The Role of Phonological Awareness Skills

Jan 17th, 2011 | By

Some students have difficulty acquiring emergent literacy skills in preschool and continue to struggle after entering Kindergarten. Both reading and writing are born out of the child’s awareness of the sounds of oral language, the association of sounds to letters, and the subsequent ability to map sound to print. Having the adequate literacy foundation skills of phonological awareness is a necessity. Research tells us that phonemic awareness is critical for reading and writing (especially blending and segmenting), so what is the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness? Phonological and phonemic awareness are interdependent, with phonemic awareness being a subset of phonological awareness. Simply put, phonological awareness involves patterns and all units of sound (the chunks), while phonemic awareness deals with the phonemes or sounds (the pieces). Phonological awareness is innate – our brains are hard-wired for pattern-seeking. Phonological awareness involves the ability to hear/recognize and manipulate the patterns of oral language – words, syllables, rhymes, onsets, rimes, and alliteration, and is an auditory skill (no print involved). It also involves the sense of beginning, end and middle parts of words, as well as word play and the understanding that spoken words consist of sequences of phonemes. Phonemic awareness is [...]

The Gift of Inner Knowing

Dec 31st, 2010 | By

At the beginning of July, 2010, I spent a week with a group of educators from Ontario Canada – what an enriching and inspiring experience! We were there as Performance Learning Systems (PLS) instructors to share and learn more about collaborative inquiry, differentiated instruction and classroom management. When a group of experienced and passionate educators gather, discussions are never limited to the specific topics on the agenda . . . and such was the case at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. Much of the discussion in the sessions and beyond involved teaching and assessment. To a person, the consensus was that real change needs to happen in education in Canada and the US in the ways we engage students in learning and in the ways we assess their learning. For our students to survive and thrive in a global society, more emphasis needs to be placed on thinking vs. regurgitation of information . . . and the assessment of thinking needs to move beyond “paper & pencil” methods. A traditional teacher role has been to impart knowledge as the expert and to have students parrot back information as “proof” of their learning . . . usually in “paper-pencil” assessments [...]