Tips for Improving your Visuals

Today I’m sharing an excellent article from Shift E Learning.  This particular article is about Maintaining Visual Consistency in eLearning materials however, you can certainly apply these principles when creating materials for your classes.  Whether constructing a single worksheet or an entire workbook, keeping these principles in mind will improve the overall look of your materials.  Consistency in these things helps students to navigate class materials quickly and easily.  Students with learning difficulties that affect executive function will benefit from consistent class materials.  Students with autism wll also appreciate visually consistent materials as they will know what to expect.  Check out the article to see how you can achieve a visually consistent format for your course materials AND how this will help you to highlight important information effectively.

Reading this article can definitely count for 30 minutes of professional reading time!

Happy Teaching

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Another Great Resource: Teacher Pop

Another Pinterest find, the Teacher Pop blog is hosted by Teach for America and designed to give quick tips for new teachers.  There are also links to other resources that teachers can find useful.  Writers of Teacher Pop are practicing teachers and I give most credence to those who are “in the trenches” just like me.  Topics include everything from rules and routines and setting up the classroom to lesson planning and adjusting for special needs.

Two of their best articles are linked below.  They are well written, to the point and include valuable information that every teacher – new or not – needs to keep in mind when adjusting their classroom practice to suit the special needs of their students.  I recommend checking these out.

Teaching Students with Autism

Accommodations for students with ADHD

Happy Reading and Teaching

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Diamante Poetry: Writing with Word Types

This form of poetry can be challenging, but once your students get the idea they will benefit from using the form to write about different topics.  Check this out.

Diamante is a seven line poem where the theme or topic of the poem ends opposite to the opening topic.  This is an excellent activity for students to use their knowledge of synonyms and antonyms.  When published and displayed around the room they also provide environmental print for students to use during other writing activities.  This form is more difficult than it seems so teachers should provide appropriate scaffolding for students, throughout the writing process.


Line 1 – Name (Noun) Theme/Object
Line 2 – Two adjectives describing the noun in line 1.
Line 3 – Three participles (-ing or -ed), relating to line 1 and 2 of the poem.
Line 4 – Four nouns (2 referring to the noun in line 1 and the other 2 referring to line 7).
Line 5 – Three participles (relating to the noun in line 7)
Line 6 – Two adjectives (describing the noun in line 7)
Line 7 – Noun (names the Theme or object which is the opposite of the noun in line 1)
This particular outline is good for teachers but certainly not what I would show my students.   Start with example Diamante’s and deconstruct them with your students.  Model how to write one of these poems by using student suggestions for words.  If you want students to write their own poems, provide a topic and have students work in small groups to list nouns, verbs, adjectives, antonyms and synonyms relative to the topic.  This will make the writing process much faster.  Here are some examples. 

Children
Young, energetic.
Growing, playing, learning.
Boys, girls. Dads, mums.
Loving, working, providing.
Grown, tired.
Parents


Day
Light, lively.
Awakened, Shining, Revealed.
Sun, Rainbows. Moon, Stars
Sleeping, Darkened, Covering.
Lonely, Quiet
Night.
Enjoy the writing process with these poems and give students opportunities to display them in interesting ways.
This post first appeared on A Great Title but has been updated as of 18 April 2016.(http://agreattitle.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/diamante-poem-of-opposites.html)
You might find these FREE resources useful – see below.  Please note that I did not create any of these resources, they have been created by some fantastic teachers who sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Make sure you provide feedback if you choose to download one or more of these.
Happy Writing
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Lately, I have been seeing pins on Pinterest with a similar format.

I love them so much that I have been pinning them to my Differentiation Pinterest Board to read later. I finally had an opportunity to check out the website that they were all coming from and I had to share it with you!

 

Understand.org is a website designed for parents of children with learning and/or attention difficulties.

While the website targets parents, there are plenty of resources for teachers and specialists.  The professional jargon is minimal and information is concise.  While we are all able to access the technical language associated with pedagogy and therapy, we would all rather read a simply worded summary.

If you are a Literacy Coach, Numeracy Coach, Special Education Teacher or other specialist, you will find the parent toolkit helpful for activities that can be used in PD programs. There are several games that parents/ teachers/ family members can play to experience what it can be like to have various learning difficulties.

I can see this website becoming a go-to site for material to share with my colleagues at school.  As well as characteristics of learning difficulties, this website has information about the social and emotional side of learning difficulties.  There are also recommendations for parents about communicating with their school and accessing assistive technology for their child.

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6 Signs Your Teacher Friend is Back to School

Considering all the teachers in Australia are heading back to school this week we probably all need a bit of a giggle.  Check out this blog post at A Great Title to see the 6 Signs your Teacher Friend is Back to School.  There are some free printable labels, recipes and posters linked to this post as well, so besides the humour you could find a helpful resource too.

All the best if you are starting a new school year this week.  If you are dealing with the mid-winter wriggles that students seem to get this time of year, good luck with that too.

See you next week with more about literacy and differentiation.

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