Search This Blog

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Parental literacy key to kids’ performance

Mr. Bennett advocates a comprehensive, targeted "reconstruction zone" strategy — expanding educational opportunities for all children in order to address the identified literacy crisis in faltering schools.

This is an interesting proposal, but thinking that we can "fix" children's literacy with interventions solely in the P-12 school system would be a mistake. Children do not exist in isolation. They come from families, and children struggling with literacy most often come from families where the moms and dads themselves have lower literacy levels.

Children will still have problems in school if their parents lack the literacy skills to support their learning.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

That was the question explored in research presented last week by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, an associate professor at West Chester University, and her spouse Jordan T. Schugar, an instructor at the same institution. Speaking at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, the Schugars reported the results of a study in which they asked middle school students to read either traditional printed books, or e-books on iPads. The students' reading comprehension, the researchers found, was higher when they read conventional books. In a second study looking at students' use of e-books created with Apple's iBooks Author software, the Schugars discovered that the young readers often skipped over the text altogether, engaging instead with the books' interactive visual features.

While their findings are suggestive—especially for parents and teachers who have questioned the value of e-books—they are preliminary, and based on small samples of students. More substance can be found in the Schugars' previous work: for example, a paper they published last year with colleague Carol A. Smith in the journal The Reading Teacher. In this study, the authors observed teachers and teachers-in-training as they used interactive e-books with children in kindergarten through sixth grade. (The e-books they examined are mobile apps, downloadable from online stores like iTunes.)

While young readers find these digital products very appealing, their multitude of features may diffuse children's attention, interfering with their comprehension of the text, Smith and the Schugars found. It seems that the very "richness" of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids' limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.

Parents and teachers should look for e-books that enhance and extend interactions with the text, rather than those that offer only distractions.

Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential

The Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential

The Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential recognizes youth who demonstrate initiative, personal development, and/or outstanding progress towards their individual goals. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2014.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Diary of a Wimpy Kid lesson plans!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid lesson plans!

Monday 28th April 2014, 2-2.30pm

Have you signed your class up to watch  Wimpy Kid Virtually Live yet? Airing in just under three weeks time it's going to be massive - and your class's artwork could star in the show!

Download the FREE lesson plans which are packed with ideas for before and after the event. Specially created, curriculum linked and masses of fun - even the most reluctant of readers will be clamouring to create their own covers.

As for the show itself, author Jeff Kinney will be telling viewers the Wimpy Kid story from first scribble through to international best-selling sensation, there'll be a live draw-along, Q&As and the BIG COVER REVEAL for book 9.  Zoo-wee mama! Puffin better get back to rigging the studio - the countdown has begun.

Suitable for children aged 6-11 years 


Friday, 11 April 2014

How can teachers support meaningful, high-quality student interaction in the math classroom?

Series: What Works? Research into Practice

Authors: Catherine D. Bruce

Collection: Research Materials

This document is part of a research-into-practice series produced by a partnership between The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat of the Ministry of Education of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Deans of Education.

This research paper asks the question: How can teachers support meaningful, high-quality student interaction in the math classroom? In the math reform literature, learning math is viewed as a social endeavour. In this model, the math classroom functions as a community where thinking, talking, agreeing, and disagreeing are encouraged. The teacher provides students with powerful math problems to solve together and students are expected to justify and explain their solutions. The primary goal is to extend one’s own thinking as well as that of others.

The Monograph also looks at what the research tells us; the value of student interaction; and also some challenges that teachers face in engaging students. As well, the author gives five strategies for encouraging high-quality student interaction, such as students questioning one another and the use of rich math tasks.

Copyright for this resource is held by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario.