Category Archives: Literacy

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Reading for Pleasure Offer to London Schools

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators is committed to promoting education in its widest sense and particularly in supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds who have fewer opportunities than others. This is a commitment that has been encouraged by successive Lord Mayors.

During 2017, the WCA Trust has decided to support literacy development and the encouragement of children’s reading for pleasure in London schools. The WCA Trust will sponsor a number of author/ illustrator / poet / storyteller visits for disadvantaged pupils in London schools, throughout 2017. The project will be organized by Sue Bastone, Mistress Arbritrator and Authors Aloud UK.

To apply for visit funding download and fill in this application form:

Download (DOCX, Unknown)

The Children’s Literacy Charter & the UK

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a South African reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.

Last year during International World Book Day they released a Children’s Literacy Charter for South Africa.

Download (PDF, 580KB)

While at a glance the Literacy Charter does bear a slight resemblance to Pennac’s Right’s of the Reader it is specifically geared towards enabling children to develop a love of reading and learning.

I had been entertaining some thoughts about adapting the charter for the UK but after playing around with it I have instead decided to push for it to be adopted over here as the wording is inclusive and only minor changes would be needed for a UL/European setting. This, of course is dependent on obtaining Nal’ibali’s blessing to do this.

PRAESA wins the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) has been around since 2003, and is the world’s biggest prize for children’s and young adult literature. It is given to authors, illustrators, story tellers and “reading promoters” around the world for their lifetime achievements.

Based in Cape Town, theProject for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) is an organisation that has worked to promote reading and literature for children and young people in South Africa since 1992.

For more than twenty years, PRAESA has made powerful, innovative moves to highlight literature as a key component of both personal and societal development, always grounded in the specific conditions of South African society and culture. Its work focuses on encouraging children to read for enjoyment, building their self-esteem, and helping them connect to their native language through reading and story.

Literacy learning can take place in any language and it is the democratic right of all South African children to use their mother tongues not only to learn the formal school curriculum, but to also access the wonders, mysteries and satisfaction of stories – told and read. PRAESA strives to help enable conditions for learning, inside and outside of school, which motivate children and adults to want to read and write – and enable them to actually do so – in African languages and in English.

To this end, PRAESA concentrates on:

    research and development programmes about bilingualism and biliteracy in early childhood education
    raising the status of the (official) African languages for oral and written language functions in society
    mentoring adults to deepen understandings and appreciation of the value of becoming reading and writing role models for children of all ages and supporting their growing understandings and strategies for achieving this
    initiating the development of materials for use with babies and children in multilingual situations, through original writing and translation.

To find out more about PRAESA and the fantastic work they do, follow this link: PRAESA

The Rather Amazing Race: Introducing Students to Finding Information Quickly

Telling students that finding information in a book can be faster than using the internet is fun!

I told a class of year nines this morning and I could see the naked disbelief in their faces. The moment the words left my mouth a sea of hands shot up and a clamour of voices stridently disagreeing with me filled the library.

They shouted that the internet was faster, easier and had more accurate sources. I managed to quieten them down and then one lad stood up and said that he would show me that using the internet was faster. I asked him how he would accomplish this and he challenged me to a race.

He said that he would use the internet and I would use the books in the library. The rest of the class cheered loudly at this.

I was rather surprised, as I had been planning on running a books versus the internet lesson in October so I agreed. I suggested that we both stand in the centre of the library and said that the first person to take the information they found to their form tutor who was also in the library would win. I also gave him the choice of subject.

He said one word: “Football!”

He ran to the closest available computer while I walked over to World Book Encyclopedia, took Volume 7 (F) off the shelf and looked up Football. World Book is an American publication, so the information contained therein was about American Football, but it did reference Soccer (Association football). So I grabbed Volume 18 (So-Sz) found the entry on Soccer and took it to the teacher.

By the time my worthy opponent had started shouting that the computer was too slow, so I called him back to the rest of the class who started accusing me of cheating. I disagreed with them but that only made their fury greater, they told me that it was not fair and that I knew where all the information books in the library were and could just walk to them and find the information I wanted.

At this point I gave a silent thank you to whoever was listening and then agreed with the students.

The point of the exercise I told them, was not to show off what I can do in the library, but rather to show them what they can learn to do. The point of library lessons for year nine is to continue helping them learn how to find relevant and reliable information for the work they are doing, both in print and online.

I think that the lesson went well, the class was quieter by the end of the lesson than it has ever been before. They thought about what I was offering them over the course of the year ahead.

The next lessons will focus on finding information online.

A Zine adaptation of An Introduction to Using the Library

A zine (an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.

In December I adapted a powerpoint presentation that I originally created to introduce students to the Dewey Decimal System into a general introduction to the Library. I did this as the original incarnation of the presentation was over-complicated and not very user-friendly.

I preferred the library introduction as it was simpler, shorter and had a better flow but I have found that students don’t learn from powerpoint presentations alone so I adapted it further.

Into a zine:

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zine2

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I printed the A4 pages individually, then using a photocopier I copied them as an A5 booklet.

If youa re interested in creating a copy of the zine for use in your own school or library then you may download the pages here:

Introduction to the Library Zine download

Huey, Louie & Melvil Dewey in: the Quest for the Missing Duck an Introduction to Using the Library

Many of you may recognize this slide presentation as it was originally an introduction to using the Dewey Decimal Classification System, but owing to a lot of feedback I received I decided to redo it as a general introduction to using the library as it was too cumbersome and complicated in it’s original form.

So with a few tweaks, language and slide changes may I present:

An Intro-duck-tion to Using the Library

Improve your Grammar with Word Crimes

I think that this is the only good thing to come from Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.

Word Crimes by “Weird Al” Yankovic is a brilliant parody of the above song and an excellent introduction to proper grammar.

I will be adding it to my pop culture educational arsenal for my students in September as there are a large number of them that treat grammar as an optional extra.

There is one instance of the term spastic at 3:10 into the song so if you do show this in class maybe stop it there or find some way of cutting that short segment out but it is near the end.

Introduction to the Lego StoryStarter Set

I was fortunate enough to win a Lego StoryStarter Set from Lego Education and it arrived yesterday.

Below is a photo by photo of the unboxing

lego11 The brilliant box
 
lego12The curriculum pack preview documents. You can read more about the curriculum pack here
 
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lego14Storage compartment
 
lego15Pictures and quantities of every Lego piece included
 
lego17The spinner bases and stickers for the storage compartments
 
lego16Bagged up Lego pieces in another storage compartment
 
lego18All the Lego pieces spread out
 
Introducing LEGO Education StoryStarter

I had thought about making a video but there is already an official introductory video

Storystarter is designed for Key Stages 1 and 2, targeting the English curriculum. It develops skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as soft skills such as collaboration and communication – all while having fun!

LEGO Education StoryStarter – Instant Success Introduction

You can watch more videos here

Request a FREE Lego StoryStarter sample kit for your school!

The sample kit is a great way of finding out a bit more about StoryStarter, the new literacy resource for Key Stages 1 & 2, because it contains a selection of bricks, special elements and Minifigures that you’ll find in the full set as well as three small base plates on which to build your story.

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Once you have your sample kit, use it to build a story of your choice, then video yourself or your pupils telling the story for your chance to win a class pack of StoryStarter worth £649.99*. Simply upload your video to YouTube then visit LEGOeducation.co.uk/StoryStarter to enter the competition. PLUS, the winning stories will all be made into a book and one overall winner will have their story made into a LEGO® animation!

You can find the request form here