October Update – What do we do in Support for Learning Time?


Posted by sthomas | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-11-2013

Firstly apologies for the lack of blogs  in the first term. As I am sure you will appreciate I  have had rather a lot of things  to get my head around in my new role!

Anyway I thought  it was high  time I shared a little of what we have been doing so far this year so here goes:

Nursery – Pre-school Group

On a Tuesday I spend the morning in the nursery which I really enjoy (must be the big kid in me!). Whilst I’m there unfortunately I don’t just get to play but I am working with all the children to develop their pencil grip and hand eye-co-ordination. We  have  had great fun doing this and the children are always keen to come and ‘write’!

This term I will also be working with a small group to develop their listening and talking skills. This involves playing lots of fun games to encourage firstly the children’s confidence to speak in a group situation but also skills such as turn taking and listening to others.

If  your child is a pre-schooler in the afternoon session don’t panic Mrs Munro and I  have  plans up our sleeves for later in the school year to ensure your children don’t miss out! We will keep you posted.

Fine Motor Skills

I have several small groups of children from across the school that come to me for support with their fine motor skills. In these groups we look at different skills depending on age, stage and class teacher requests. For  example with my Primary 1 group we are looking at the formation of the letters and numbers they are learning with Mrs Jamieson. Other groups are following a programme called Write form the Start which allows the children to practise all the skills they need for good letter formation such as hand – eye co-ordination, fluency of movement, curves and straight line patterns. I am also hoping to introduce a programme called Speed Up which looks at using a more tactile and active approach to build the skills required to produce good fine motor control.

Sounds Knowledge and Word Building Skills

Again I have several small groups from across the school working at various different levels and abilities. The aim of these groups is to ensure that the children have a secure knowledge of the sounds we use in language and can apply this knowledge to help them decode words when reading and build words when writing. We do lots of fun games and activities to help us learn and practise using our sounds at whatever stage we are at with learning. For example Primary 4 and 7 had fun making bats for my Halloween wall last week. They had different learning objectives; Harry was practising his Hornet spelling rule on his bat whilst Jack and Daniel were building CVC rhyming words and practising common words on theirs.  There are a few photos below which show some of what we have been up to lately:


Numeracy Groups

Not only do I run groups to support children’s literacy but I am also running some numeracy groups too. Again these are small groups where  the class teacher has identified children who either have a gap in their knowledge, would benefit from time and support to practise skills learnt in class or children who have a specific learning need. At the moment I have a group working hard on their number bond skills and two groups working hard on their multiplication tables.  For the latter, it is about understanding how the tables are put together and learning strategies to  help them use the tables. This week we have been playing tables dominoes where one end of the domino has an answer and one end has a multiplication sum on it. We’ve had great fun doing this and we are definitely getting quick at working out the answers!

Short Term Memory Group

This is a new one for me so I have had to do lots of research into this. Some children who have a particular learning difficulty such as Dyslexia, often, but not always, have problems with their short term memory. Did you know that when your short-term memory is working correctly you can hold  7 pieces of information in it for approximately 20 seconds? However our short-term memory is very fragile and the information within it evaporates as and when direct attention is re-directed or disrupted. You use your short term memory to carry out tasks like mental arithmetic, responding to a verbal questions, memorising a phone number from the phone book whilst dialling, tallying a word when reading. When your short term memory is not working properly it is really difficult to carry out some tasks and as you can imagine this can be extremely frustrating for children that have this issue. The idea behind the group is that the children involved will maximise their short term memories by acquiring and implementing memory strategies. It is hoped that this in turn will increase confidence and self-esteem when carrying out tasks involving short term memory. I’ll let you know if it works, but in the meantime we are having lots of fun trying!

Look out for my next update where I will share with you the principles behind GIRFEC ( Getting it Right for Every Child) in East Lothian and hopefully have far more photos to show you, I have left the camera out in the  hope I remember to use it! As ever should you have any queries or wish to discuss your child please do get in touch through the school office.

Many Thanks,

Mrs Thomas

Comments are closed.