I believe that the SHIFT ELearning blog might just be finding inspiration from me!  Here is a recent post from SHIFT which explains some brilliant statistics about the wonders of micro learning  which is taking the corporate world of staff development by storm.  Enjoy reading more reasons why I’m right!

 

 

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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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Pictures Speak Louder than Words

Yesterday I received an excellent post from SHIFT E-Learning.  The illustration really stood out to me.  Perhaps I’m a little bit biased – it backs up my previous post perfectly.

Click the image to check out the article for yourself.

The idea

We can give students random points of information or knowledge, but until they make connections between these points they will not be able to apply them efficiently.  The post on SHIFT suggests that teachers need to provide experiences for their students that will help them to make these connections.

Applying this idea in your classroom

You may be teaching an online course or be in another educational setting but this concept applies to all of them.  I showed in my most recent post how I support my students to activate their prior knowledge.  This is one step towards helping my students connect old and new knowledge.  There are other strategies for achieving this and often getting your students to move between the first image (random seemingly unrelated and completely unorganised points) to the second (various facts and information linked to experience).  Here are a few strategies that help students to make these connections and you will probably find you are already using some of these.

  • Use Google Your Brain at the beginning of the lesson to see what students already know about a topic and revisit the “Google” questions to help students to use the new knowledge to fill in any gaps they had at the beginning of the lesson.
  • Provide some information to solve a problem and then ask the students to have a go at solving the problem.  Once students have had a chance to apply this information, debrief and help students to reflect on the experience.
  • Create a game/ activity that involves matching different ways of presenting the same information OR matching real world examples/ situations to the new knowledge they have.
  • Present a problem first and ask students to solve it using their current knowledge and skills.  After a short time – whether the problem is solved or not – provide students with the new knowledge/ skills that could be applied to the problem and then give them another chance to tackle the problem using what they have just learned.
  • Use role plays at the beginning and end of a learning activity which allows students to tune in to a new concept and then reflect on what they have learned.
  • Ask students to create something using the new knowledge or skill and explain the process they used.
  • Outline two very different situations and ask the students to apply their new knowledge of skill to both situations.  Alternatively, you could ask students to compare these situations using attributes that are relevant to the new concept.

See, I told you that you were already doing some of these things.

Bottom Line

Experience (learning through doing) is better than Lectures (learning through listening or even reading) when you want students to both remember and apply your topic.  Reading and Listening are important tools for learning but whatever is read or listened to needs to have an application or experience linked to it for it to be easily accessed later.

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Quill: Free, Interactive Grammar Lessons!

There are various online resources for teaching grammar – as there are for every other strand of literacy- but few are quite so user friendly as Quill. I will admit that I haven’t used this website myself because I only just found out about it via Teach Bytes. Our school Literacy team will certainly be checking it out.
A free and customisable platform for grammar practice in the classroom… I didn’t think it was possible!!
Check it!

TeachBytes

All year we’ve been on the hunt as a school for a free grammar platform that students can use to build fundamental skills. However, every time we tested something out, we undoubtedly came across one of the these two problems:

  • The free version was limited, and we had to pay an obnoxious amount of money for extra features
  • The platform was too uniform, we couldn’t customize lessons for each student

That’s why I am so excited to share with you my most recent finding: Quill!

Quill is a free, online, interactive grammar lesson platform that essentially has students practice grammar skills by editing and revising engaging pieces of pre-written literature. Quill also allows teachers to personalize curricula and assign individual lessons to individual students. This is perfect for those teachers who have students who need specialized intervention, while allowing other students to continue as needed.

Check out the video below for a…

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Updated Page: Teaching Resources

I would like to let you know that I have begun updating my resource page with some new Numeracy blogs and sites.  A new blog I just discovered has been the catalyst for creating the new section. There are a few other sites and blogs that will certainly be turning up there soon.  Be sure to check back often.

I think this is my shortest blog post ever!

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