Books for All Scotland event

Stirling Management Centre, 18 March 2011

Learning and Teaching Scotland, in partnership with CALL Scotland are hosting this learning day.

The purposes of the conference are:

·         to support teachers, early years practitioners and senior managers to improve access to the curriculum for pupils with print disabilities who need print to be in accessible alternative formats.

·         to give strategic managers and practitioners the chance to learn about these developments and discuss how to implement them in their own context to ensure best value

·         to encourage individuals in their authorities to share their learning with colleagues to sustain and expand work in this area.

Significant developments have taken place to make it easier for pupils and teachers to find existing accessible resources, to use them with pupils, to make them if they don’t already exist and to share them under new copyright arrangements. These developments will help authorities and schools to meet their equality and accessibility responsibilities.

LTS plans to involve colleagues from Scottish Government, HMIE, CALL Scotland, SQA, CLA, RNIB and publishers as well as managers and practitioners. This partnership event is aimed at both educational practitioners and strategic personnel.

 To reserve a place at this event please contact Anne Marie Lamont at a.lamont@LTScotland.org.uk.

Music for all at the Hub

Koby and the Skoog

The Skoog is an exciting new musical instrument with accessibility at its heart.  An instrument designed explicitly for special education to empower those unable to play traditional instruments.  The Skoog is a soft, squeezable object that simply plugs straight into your computer or laptop’s USB port.  Simply touching, pressing, squashing, twisting or tapping the Skoog allows you to play a wide range of instruments, intuitively.  Learn more about it here

You can see Koby Major, age 5, having a brilliant time playing with the Skoog.  Inventor and entrepreneur, Benjaman Schogler, came along to demonstrate how it could be used.  He worked with all three classes and everyone had a go.  Even the very lightest touch can generate a sound.  Some pupils hit the Skoog, some squeezed, some rolled it, Jonathon leaned on it with his shoulder and played the flute.  Using a WOWee one gel speaker, sound vibrations gave another dimension to the musical experience.

Joy, a student in musicology from Greece and on work placement with Benjaman, is going to work with groups of pupils over the next few weeks.  Mark my words, there’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of music happening down at the Hub!

Free book for all P1 children

Free book for all P1 children – latest Bookbug initiative supported in East Lothian

East Lothian Council reports that during the next few weeks all P1 children will receive a free book with a message from Bookbug, the Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years Gifting Programme. 

This year’s chosen book, “Manfred the Baddie” by John Fardell, won the 0-7 age category of the 2009 Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children’s Books.

 John Fardell will be taking part in a live Glow Meet in the Early Year’s Glow Group on Thursday 25th November from 1.45 – 2.45pm.

Switch accessible activities FREE online

Inclusive Technology have a section on their website called HelpKidzLearn with free games and activities.  These are high quality resources giving you a taster of some of Inclusive’s bespoke software.  From simple Cause and effect switching activities  you can progress onto ‘Wait then Press’ activities (eg.  Mystery Egg in the Early Years section).  Increase a pupil’s concentration and co-ordination skills with Catch the Crocs  (games section) or improve letter recognition on the keyboard by playing Letter Pop! (Find out section).  Have fun!

Dyslexia Support Service Annual Summary

Assessment: I have been involved in the assessment of 117 pupils this year and have met with the vast majority of the parents of these youngsters (and about 20 others already ‘on the books’) at least once. This is either at Staged Assessment and Intervention (SAI) meetings or more informally to discuss progress and programmes. These assessments and parental meetings are preceded by extensive consultations with colleagues. Once an identification of dyslexia has been made, we usually meet again to discuss any interventions that may be appropriate.

Teaching individuals + small groups: I have worked with individuals and small groups of pupils on working memory skills, Mind Mapping and note making, MS Word Accessibility and strategies for organisation and planning as part of a transition programme for P7’s over the year.

5 children have helped me begin to evaluate the reading and spelling programme, ‘Nessy’. This is such a rich resource that 3 of the children will be continuing work on it next session. This is partly for their benefit of course, but also to allow me to decide whether I should encourage schools to buy ‘Nessy’ for their struggling readers and spellers. This is one of the software packages I was given with my new laptop: http://www.nessy.com/. So far we are loving it!

Teaching whole classes: I have taught several classes the basics of Mind Mapping using Kidspiration and Inspiration. I worked with a P7 class on higher order reading skills.

 

Parents’ Meetings: I have spoken to groups of parents at open meetings and presented an in-service session for a school as part of their Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge. The focus was on learning styles.

Dyslexia Friendly Schools Pledge: The Pledge itself has had a re-vamp and is now ready to be incorporated into the literacy strategy for the region.

 In-service training: I have led a group of support for learning colleagues to develop user-friendly guidance for using WordTalk and presented this to a group of practitioners at an event organised by LT Scotland. I spoke at my first TeachMeet (for 2 minutes) on this wonderful resource at the Sea Bird Centre

I have given training sessions to colleagues in 2 secondary schools on interpreting the computerised assessment tool and commented on the reports they have prepared subsequently.

Of course I have attended meetings of the Outreach Service and both Clusters too.

This is an up-dated version of the summaryI posted at the end of the Spring term.

Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit launched

New guidelines for identifying children with dyslexia were launched by former racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart on Tuesday. The online “tool kit” , available since January but now open to all, has been created for every teacher: we are all responsible for literacy regardless of our subject or sector. The resource supports the Curriculum for Excellence’s emphasis on literacy and numeracy across learning.

 The Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit for Teachers aims to help teachers and early years workers identify literacy difficulties and dyslexia among pupils. A key target is to spot problems as early as possible so children can be given support and are not disadvantaged educationally.

A key aim of the new guide is highlighting to all class teachers that they are in the best position to identify early indicators of dyslexia and other learning difficulties. It identifies problems teachers should look out for at various stages in a child’s education from pre-school to late primary, right up to senior secondary and college.

Dr Margaret Crombie, who led the team of experts behind the creation of the project from Glasgow Caledonian, Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities, said: “We now have a resource that all teachers can use to help them work through the process of assessment of literacy difficulties.”

It’s superb: check it out.

No longer sparkling

The popular site for teacher resources, Sparklebox, has been shut down. I am grateful to bloggers  Julie and Brenden for this information.

Here is an extract from Brenden’s blog summarising the reasons why this site is no longer available:

The owner and operator of Sparklebox, Samuel Kinge (formerly Daniel Kinge), was accused of and found guilty of making and possessing indecent images of children, including the “abuse of babies”. What we know so far is that he was discovered with over 400 of these images, but the media are still picking up the news so there may be more to come. Samuel was sentenced on the 8th of January 2010 to one year in prison, of which he will serve 6 months, and restricted internet use for 15 years. He had previous similar offenses, more details below. After the previous offence, he faked his own death using a social networking site (posting “Daniel Kinge died on November 18”) in order to change his name and reinvent himself.

That’s life in the 21st century unfortunately.

Google Docs for isolated learners

Recently at a CPD session at Knox Academy several teachers practiced using Google Apps together.

One application which is useful in supporting a pupil who cannot be in class, perhaps due to illness, is to paste and send them a Past Paper or other document which they can work on at home. The teacher can type on comments as the pupil is working rather than sending it back and forth as you would with email.

A way for a pupil to keep in touch with peers, is to work from home on a document while classmates type from school. A group can participate together on a Powerpoint or other document from various computers in various locations simultaneously.

One Guidance teacher was eager to put her learning into practice in support of a young man in his final year of school who is undergoing lengthy medical treatments. He can now communicate with classmates and teachers from hospital or home from a lap top and can progress in subjects with a better chance of achieving his potential.

The scope for creating learning opportunities is exciting.

To learn more look at Youtube Googledocs in plain english

Resource for supporting EAL students

I frequently find super tools at the blog of a teacher in Edinburgh who maintains a very interesting blog full of links to great online resources.

Here is a resource she has found invaluable for helping a family whose first language is not English.

Check it out – and if you like it make a comment on her blog to say so. It’s so encouraging to those of us who blog to see that others are interested in what we have to say.

Comic Life!

A wee while ago a colleague and I attended a workshop on Youth Participation. Whilst there we came across some software called ‘Comic Life.’  Basically it offers a range of comic templates, links to your photos stored in your computer and you can choose speech bubbles, text boxes and headlines.

I’ve used it successfully with reluctant writers and children with ASN.  Its so easy to use that I haven’t opened the manual yet!  Click on the boxes and the photo resizes to the box, write in the text boxes and speech bubbles and they resize with the text.  Drag into place and hey presto – a very professional comic starring your pupils!!

Comic Life is on the refreshed laptops. Ask IT if you don’t have it. Have fun!