Sunday, 28 February 2016

Learning Journey - Making Progress - Week 5, Term One

After last Monday's meeting with my fellow inquiry people I had to come back down to earth and face my normal working week. Had a great week juggling the many aspects of classroom teaching and trying to find the time to organise my inquiry. Thanks to Dorothy I made an appointment to visit Sommerville Special School in Auckland - and here I am! I was greeted at the door by a dedicated and wonderful teacher called Donna. She and I sat with a SLT for a few hours discussing assessment, requirements and how their school meets the needs of the Ministry and other agencies. I left with new found focus and lots to process and think about. It is wonderful to see the many different ways in which we can assess these students progress and learning. It is all about changing our pedagogy and practice to focus on what the children can do and then teach them the skills needed to make the next learning steps. Donna sent me some interesting reading about "Narrative Assessment" and how we can use this as a tool to help our children reach their individual goals. It's so important to take the time to read as much as possible so we can talk about the pros and cons of how we assess and why. At Sommerville they have literacy and numeracy rubrics to assess their children in a variety of ways - that are measurable and suited to the many different ways our special needs children learn. I have been given the names Sally Clendon and Jane Farrall to research. Sally is a SLT who talks a lot about building literacy and getting the communication flowing through an enriched literacy programme.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Monday 22 February

My first day with the SPARK Manaiakalani group. It has been a fantastic start to our Inquiry journey. We met at the SPARK headquarters in Auckland over a coffee before going to a lovely meeting room. We spent the morning discussing our inquiry topics, critiquing and being more specific about our inquiries. We heard about the SPARK foundation and how it works as an organisation. It was great to hear about the amazing work they are doing within New Zealand. We got to know each other and had time to talk about how we could support each other with our inquiries. A great time to network. I contacted a Principal here in Auckland and hope to come down over the next week to discuss with her the ways she assesses communication with her special needs students. I adapted my inquiry topic to be more specific and manageable. Here is a photo of our meeting room - we are all hard at work!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

UDL - A Universal Design for Learning

This is a concept being used in the US to help teachers form an inclusive learning environment and network. I found this video that explains it very well. I love the below blurb which includes some of my favourite buzz words. This is all about the video. "Watch Alberta Education’s new Inclusive Education Video Series to learn more about inclusive education topics, including Valuing All Students; Changing How We Talk about Disabilities; and Using A Positive Behaviour Approach to Support Learning"