I hope this week’s edition finds you well.
“I can think of two very good reasons for not splitting an infinitive. 1. Because you feel that the rules of English ought to conform to the grammatical precepts of a language that died a thousand years ago. 2. Because you wish to cling to a pointless affectation of usage that is without the support of any recognized authority of the last 200 years, even at the cost of composing sentences that are ambiguous, inelegant, and patently contorted.”
― Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way
PEANUTS/CHARLIE BROWN THROWBACK
I know I’m just scraping into April with this edition, but being April, it did trigger some excellent resources that I wanted to share with you before we ticked over into May.
I’m fascinated with the history of the English language.
Gina Cooke is the most knowledgeable person I know in this area. I have learnt so much from her resources, and yet we have never met!
During the height of COVID I ordered the following resources from the LEX site: Grapheme Deck (3rd edition); InSight Words Volume 1, 2, 3 and supplement; InSights into Inflections; InSights into Auxiliaries; Matrix Study Sheets Volumes 1 and 2. There is so much to unpack in these resources, and it is helping me to better understand our writing system, and how language works. This has flowed into the work I engage in with educators around all aspects of literacy.
I am yet to do a course with Gina, but it is something I would like to pursue in the future.
Gina provided with me a complementary calendar at the time, and I’ve included the entry for April below.
There are also a number of cool resources you can find online outside of Gina’s website - an excellent example is making sense of spelling.
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
In my experience poetry is often the favourite unit for students.
After being launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, April has become the National Poetry Month in America. Since 1996 it has become one of the largest literacy celebrations in the world, and highlights the important place poetry has in our lives.
While poetry might be a hit for many students, it can often be daunting for teachers.
If you feel this way, it is important to source quality resources that can complement the work you do in your classroom.
You can Sign up for Poem-a-Day and enjoy a free daily poem in your inbox. These poems also have a description from the author as to the inspiration and meaning behind the poem.
To have an authentic focus on poetry it is also worth considering 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in the classroom.
I’ve included one of my favourite all time poems below, Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.
With the constraints of preparing students for NAPLAN, many schools I work with kick off term 3 with a poetry unit.
AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH
April is also Autism Acceptance Month.
The article I’ve linked above highlights the common mistakes people make when writing about people with autism. It is well worth a read.
Many parents when they find out that their child is autistic are on the receiving end of negative messaging. This can come in many forms, including resources that stigmatise autism.
A resource that cuts through the myths and misconceptions, and explains autism from an autistic perspective is“Start Here: A Guide for Parents of Autistic Kids”.
Check it out.
Kialla West is one of the schools that I have worked with the longest. One of the things I do miss about being in my own school is the sense of community that you are a part of. Wes and his team go out of their way to make sure I feel part of the KWPS community, which I appreciate.
As a school they have completed some fantastic work around reading, and if you’re not too far from the Shepparton area, it would be worth a visit to see the quality of practice and consistency across the school.
Their work around writing is well on the way to being at the same high level. Our recent Curriculum Day together focused on the latest research on writing, as well as the writing process. The stronger schools I work with have so much consistency that they can focus on the tasks being set for students. This is the key as to whether we get the outstanding outcomes we all desire. Kialla West is one of these schools, and we finished the day by refining and adjusting our writing curriculum.
Despite the challenges we all still face with COVID, KWPS had an excellent term 1, culminating in a writing celebration towards the end of term. You can check out some photos on their Facebook page. Parents, teachers and students loved the celebration.
I’m excited that in a couple of weeks time I’m back at KWPS, and we are beginning our work together on numeracy.
Thanks for reading and see you next week,
P.S Feel free to provide me with any feedback regarding the newsletter, or anything for that matter via email. Also, let me know what topics you would be interested in reading more about.
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