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active literacy -Aberdeen and North Lanarkshire

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by torryquine, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. What is everyone's view on the massive changes to our teaching day?
    I like the ideas for spelling. I'm not keen on what we have to do with reading in the upper stages. I think we could put lots of children off reading for life. I detest the fact that everything has to go in 3 jotters. My IDL one is a right jumbled mess already- with many things glued or stapled into it.
    My biggest gripe is that it goes against CFE in so many ways. It dictates what you do in IDL. Having to make sure that 4 lots of IDL writing are done in one week is very difficult. What with that, the daiy writing and weekly Big Writing, the follow up work for everything will have to be written.
    Surely teaching one spelling lesson to the whole class is going back 20 to 30 years? How do you get on with a composite? The course leaders avoided answering that.
    I'm not convinced but would like the flexibility to use what I think would work with my class.
    In the meantime, how the heck do you fit in everything else we have to do?
    Since CFE was introduced I can honestly say that I have even less flexibility than I used to have.
     
  2. What is everyone's view on the massive changes to our teaching day?
    I like the ideas for spelling. I'm not keen on what we have to do with reading in the upper stages. I think we could put lots of children off reading for life. I detest the fact that everything has to go in 3 jotters. My IDL one is a right jumbled mess already- with many things glued or stapled into it.
    My biggest gripe is that it goes against CFE in so many ways. It dictates what you do in IDL. Having to make sure that 4 lots of IDL writing are done in one week is very difficult. What with that, the daiy writing and weekly Big Writing, the follow up work for everything will have to be written.
    Surely teaching one spelling lesson to the whole class is going back 20 to 30 years? How do you get on with a composite? The course leaders avoided answering that.
    I'm not convinced but would like the flexibility to use what I think would work with my class.
    In the meantime, how the heck do you fit in everything else we have to do?
    Since CFE was introduced I can honestly say that I have even less flexibility than I used to have.
     
  3. What is IDL ?
     
  4. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    There has been some discussion about this recently:
    https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/604763.aspx
    There is also some information about it on the North Lanarkshire Council website:
    www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=23215
    "Now in its seventh year, North Lanarkshire Council's Literacy Strategy moved away from traditional desk bound learning to encouraging children to work together and develop their reading, writing, talking and listening skills."
    I don't know about anyone else, but the last time I had a classroom with anything resembling a traditional desk in it was around about 1976 and, even then, they were grouped together and the children moved around the classroom between different activities. Pupils were certainly never 'bound' to a desk for their learning.
    Findings of the research included:
    • 93% of the Active Literacy pupils in P3 scoring average or above compared with 72% of the Control Group.
    • 95% of the Active Literacy group in P4 scoring average or above in comparision with 80% of the Control Group.
    It would be interesting to know the size of the pupil sample used in the research, the ability range of the pupils taking part and the amount of time spent on literacy by the 'Active' and 'Control' groups.
    Nancy Ferguson Senior Educational Psychologist added:
    "These results indicate that the initiative has not only significantly raised attainment in reading and writing, but that children who are taught using Active Literacy continue to outperform other pupils throughout their primary education."
    "It is also interesting to note that the traditional gender gap between boys and girls has disappeared."
    Now that last sentence is extremely significant given that most research, from around the world, over the last fifty years, has tended to show that girls outperform boys in reading, writing and mathematics at age 7, 11 and 14.
    The website goes on to say:
    Active Learning allows teachers to spend longer interacting with children and encouraging them to learn.
    Now, this is where I'm beginning to lose the logic of the initiative. How are teachers able to spend longer interacting with children. If it's because most pupils are working in groups, or pairs, whilst the teacher is focussing on a smaller group, then teachers are not actually spending longer interacting with all children, all the time. Indeed, it's not so different from how most primary teachers have been working with pupils for, at least, the last forty years.
    If, on the other hand, teachers are spending a greater part of the school day working on literacy, then it may begin to make sense.
    Under the old 5-14 Guidelines (remember them?), the core allocation of time allocated to English Language amounted to just 45 minutes a day. Now I don't know any primary teacher who was able to fit all the English Language work expected under the 5-14 Guidelines into just 45 minutes a day.
    Of course, there was always the argument that there was a degree of flexibility and that English Language was used across the curriculum. That's fair enough but, unfortunately, important as using language may be, it is not the same as acquiring the knowledge and skills that facilitate the use of language.
    One important question asked by the OP was:
    That, of course, is often the question that is asked when a new initiative is being implemented and the answer from those promoting, and leading, such initiatives is usually: "It's all about time management", or "We are just here to advise on .... "
    So, it would be interesting to hear from a teacher who has used the North Lanarkshire Active Literacy Programme, and preferably a teacher with experience of other approaches to literacy, to gain an insight into whether the initiative is really as effective as is being suggested.
     
  5. I'm hearing that this is now being abandoned by some authorities. Is this really the case and what were the reasons for it?
     
  6. We have been introducing active literacy in our school over the last couple of years. I quite like the structure of the spelling programme although I agree it doesn't differentiate for an ability range. I teach P3, my two stage partners have P2/3 and P3/4. NL doesn't take composites into consideration. P2/3 can go hand in hand but P4 seems to have a completely different programme. We are beginning to look at guided reading. I am not sure how this can be done with 6 reading groups. I have taught for 30 years so have been through many changes! I have found that my P3s are beginning to look for the sounds in words and trying to find others that use the same phonemes. I am not yet convinced that they are transferring their skills to big writing. We also have a 'cross curricular' folder -v time consuming putting stuff in to it.
     
  7. we have just started and I am totally confused so god help the children.......are common words for reading, my PT insists these are spelling words but how can this be if the children have yet to learn the phonemes!!!!!!!
     
  8. Hi there,

    I have a P1/2/4 class and have developed my literacy programme around the NL literacy packs.

    I have used stage one phonics with my P1 and stage two and three phonics this year with my P2; P4 have worked on their spelling at the same time P1-2 are doing phonics and use the same spelling strategies before choosing active tasks to consolidate.

    Initially I gave common words out each week with the sounds being learned for sight recognition. I did not use the common words as spelling words until after Christmas when the children had learned all of the initial sounds. I then gave 4 words home each week as homework and practised each day as a starter task. Any words that had not been learned were then moved into the following weeks words.

    P1-2 follow the same program of tasks for reading just differentiated for reading ability and the content needed for daily writing tasks. P4 use the Literacy Circles roles to complete reading tasks each day which doubles up as their daily writing task and then discuss their independent tasks as a group.

    I do not use the NL writing pack as I do all of my big writing through my interdisciplinary topics.

    P4 also work on grammar and punctuation tasks once a week and all of the class do handwriting at the same time - differentiated for stages.

    In our school P5/6/7 will be introduced to the NL spelling approach next session and will all begin on the same level as they all have all of the spelling families to learn due to them not having used the pack before. It can then be differentiated in later years as new children move into the P5/6/7 class.

    Use what works and adapt what doesn't, do not feel you have to use everything exaclty as it is prescribed in the teaching books - it cannot possibly work that way in every classroom. Hope this helps a little - it is only how I have adapted and developed it this year, I may still change and adapt it more again next year!
     
    Ussura likes this.
  9. Interesting to read everyone's thoughts and experiences. I'm a probationer in a P3/4/5 class and am panicking about how I'm going to manage (in general, really)! The school has just introduced Active Literacy so none of the kids have done it before. I also have 7 kids who are new to the school and haven't been learning phonics. With the amount of sounds they need to get through and importance of introducing the basics (plus lack of resources), I just want to run away from it, to be honest!
     
  10. Having completed the course in May this year, I'm about to start active spelling with my P5 class next week, having spent the past couple of weeks assessing where they should begin!! We've been advised to plug any weaknesses in phonemes up till Christmas using stage 2 or 3, then move on to Stage 4. I think I've got the gist of it but am a bit confused about Homework. Any suggestions?? And how do you use the common words??
     

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