The conference allowed us to see a variety of activities and approaches Oteha valley and Arahoe school are using with the building blocks to literacy programme. Here are a few of the thoughts I had during the day along with my notes from the Keynote speakers:
"Children are often pushed into formal learning before they are ready" I agree in theory. However as a year 2 teacher I can't see how I can justify stopping children from writing and formal reading instruction until they have all of the skills deemed necessary to the programme. This is one area of the conference that really made me think, challenging my firm belief that we need to keep kids moving and ensuring they are meeting as many checkpoints as possible. Something I think we have to balance when we push ahead and when we wait. At some point we can't wait any longer for children to be ready to move on we just have to move on a reality I think all teachers have to deal with at some point. Perhaps one that we don't have to worry as much about as our English and American colleagues.
I already use the magic caterpillar handwriting programme in my class so was interested in how others work with the programme.
One of the things I'm still not convinced about is the use of chalk and chalkboards, for a long time allergy sufferer this seems like a nightmare. I can't see the point in reverting back to something that irritates so many allergies and makes a rather nasty mess. I still prefer to use either whiteboards and whiteboard markers or using crayons and paper on a desk to get a similar drag to chalk. Just something I'm not willing to change I guess.
I did think the use of the Mimio to animate the story really bought the programme into the 21st century and the colour pictures on the wall were great to... I must get hold of some of those!