Four Blocks Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs


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Presentation by Margaret Maher at the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference

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Four Blocks Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs

  1. 1.   Four  Blocks  Literacy  for     Students  with  Complex  Communica;on  Needs  (CCN)    
  2. 2. Margaret  Maher  Willans  Hill  School    
  3. 3. Willans  Hill  School   •  69  students  with   intellectual  and   physical  disabili3es   •  Aged  from  5  years  to   18  years   •  9  classes   •  9  teachers  and  9   school  learning   support  officers  
  4. 4. Before  Four  Blocks  •  90s  –  therapy,  sensory  ac3vi3es,  living  skills,   (deficiency  model)  teacher    directed  ac3vi3es  •  Individual  staff  working  in  isola3on  •  Students  priori3es  and  expecta3ons  were  not  always   curriculum  based  •  High  school  was  prepara3on  for  aKer  school   experiences  •  Students  with  complex  communica3on  needs  were   serviced  by  external  agencies  -­‐  therapist  
  5. 5. 2008  QTAL  Project  •  Quality  teaching  and  learning  project  –  an  amazing   opportunity  to  have  our  colleagues  come  into  our   classroom  and  assist  us  with  challenges  of:   –  Engagement   –  Inclusivity   –  Substan3ve  communica3on    •   Experience/exper3se/enthusiasm/ideas  were   shared  and  3me  for  discussions  available.  
  6. 6. Communica;on  •  Opportuni3es  across  all  Key  Learning  Areas.  •  Expec3ng  all  students  to  give  a  response  –  make  it   automa3c  that  you  ask  a  ques3on  to  a  non  verbal   student  as  you  do  to  their  peers  with  speech.  •  Four  Blocks  emphasises  access  and  the  need  to  look   at  response  3mes.  One  of  the  major  benefits  has   been  for  students  with  CCN  have  displayed  quicker   response  3mes  –  ie:  answer  more  quickly  because   they  have  had  so  many  opportuni3es  to  give  an   answer  with  Four  blocks.  
  7. 7. Communica;on  •  Allowing  strategies  used  in  the  classroom  to  be   transferred  into  other  social  situa3ons  –  on  the   playground,  at  home  and  other  educa3onal  sengs   eg  Library  •  All  staff  having  key  caddies  to  interact  with  all   students,  especially  in  transi3ons.  •  Key  caddies  a]ached  to    wheelchairs  and  yes/  no   visuals  on  trays  or  pommels.  
  8. 8. What  are  the  Four  Blocks?  •  Mainstream  literacy  program  developed  by  Patricia   Cunningham  &  Dorothy  Hall.  •  •  Guided  Reading,  Self  Selected  Reading,  Wri3ng  and   Working  with  Words  •  Used  with  special  educa3on  students  by  the  Centre   for  Literacy  and  Disability  Studies-­‐  University  of   North  Carolina  •  Staff  member  at  our  school  a]ended  a  course  with   Karen  Erickson  and  David  Koppenhaver  •  Brought  the  idea  back  to  the  school  
  9. 9. IMPLEMENTING  THE  FOUR  BLOCKS   LITERACY  PROGRAM     AT  WILLANS  HILL  SCHOOL   •  Our  school  was  failing  students  in  providing   successful,  sustainable  communica3on   systems  for  all  students.   •  We  were  in  a  rut!!   •  Important  to  make  our  students  be]er   communicators.  
  10. 10. What  did  we  do?  •  Looking  at  our  atude  and  philosophy  regarding  all   students  as  poten3al  Literacy  learners  •  Our  3metables-­‐  a  commitment  to  the  four  blocks   everyday    •  Commitment  to  in-­‐school  Training  &  Development   (detailed  planning  began  late  2008  in  readiness  for   2009)  •  Broadened  the  role  of  support  staff  (School  Learning   Support  Officers,  Vision  support,  Library,  etc).  
  11. 11. What  did  we  do?  •  Repe;;on  with  variety  –  partner  assisted  scanning            (  Linda  Burkhardt)  •  Resources    that  we  knew  worked:  topic  books,   soKware  (Boardmaker  Plus!,  Clicker,  Photostory),  Tar   Heel  Reader,  ac3vity  cards  to  give  people  lessons  or   transi3on  breaks,  access  dic3onary,  topic  boards,   (lite  tech)teacher’s  toolkit…..  •   Presents  -­‐  big  key    keyboards,  camera  mounts,  ipad  ,   switch  mounts,    printers  in  each  room  (  direct  access   to  prin3ng)(high  tech)  SoKware  -­‐Cloze  pro,  Co-­‐writer    
  12. 12. How  did  we  change?  •  Used  late  2008  to  begin  work  and  understanding  of   the  Wri3ng  Block.  Beginning  talking  about  other   blocks.    •  2009  was  to  be  the  launch  of  complete  four  blocks   within  each  classroom  for  all  students.  •  Overwhelming  •  Didn’t  happen  due  to  obstacles  •  Some  blocks  happening  in  some  classrooms  
  13. 13. What  did  we  change?  •  Repor3ng    •  Assessments  –  photos  and  videos  •  Priori3es  –  at  least  1  to  be  literacy  based  •  Awards-­‐  assembly,  Principal’s  •  Staff  use  literacy  language  •  Role  of  support  staff  –  involved  in  planning,   observa3on  and  assessment  
  14. 14. Valuing  all  •  Acknowledge  vocalisa3ons  and  all  contribu3ons.    •  A]ribute  meaning  to  all  interac3ons.  Provide  specific   feedback  for  CCN  student  behaviour  –eg  “you’re   looking  away  –  I  think  you  are  telling  me  no!”  •  Respond  and  try  to  extend  answers  –  choice  boards,   sensory  feedback,(Sounds,  touch)  •  Wai;ng  –  give  all  students  3me  to  process  your     request  and  respond  (up  to  2  minutes  and  beyond)    
  15. 15. Things  that  changed  the   direc;on  of  Willans  Hill  School        Giving  everyone  a   pencil  –  allowing   every  student  the   opportunity  and   access  to  a  form   of  meaningful   communica3on.      
  16. 16. 2011  •  Inservice  late  in  2010  for  all  staff  –  Jane  Farrall  •  Implemen3ng  Four  Blocks  in  all  classrooms  in  2011  •  Tes3ng  all  students,  collec3ng/analyzing  data  •  Uniform  literacy  proforma  -­‐  planning  •  Weekly  work  programs,  3metabling,  coaching  •  Commitment    by  all  staff  to  submit  programs  at  the   beginning  of  each  week  •  Visits  each  month  from  Jane  –  discussions,  sharing   ideas  
  17. 17. Planning  •  Programming  was  key  to  success.  •  Looking  at  all  the  students  and  iden3fying  ways  that   would  allow  involvement  and  engagement,   opportuni3es  for  comment/response/feedback  .  •  This  presented  many  challenges  but  I  remember  my   supervisor  sharing  a  strategy  –  start  with  the   ‘hardest  student’    and  find  a  role  for  them  and  work   through  from  the  student  with  the  most  complex   communica3on  issues  to  those  who  are  more   capable.  
  18. 18. Literacy  Proforma  •  Jane  came  along  to  our  staff  development  days  end   of  2010  and  gave  us  a  format  that  we  could  all  use  –   a  uniform  plan  across  the  school  •  Gave  literacy  uniformity.  •  This  meant  that  we  had  all  staff  from  Kinder  to  Year   12  following  the  same  plan.  Teachers  and  students   alike  got  used    to  the  structure  of  the  Four  Blocks   which  would  allow  for  an  easy  transi3on  at  the  end   of  each  year.  
  19. 19.  What  the  four  blocks  looks  like  in   our  classrooms  •  Pre  planned  four  pronged  a]ack  that  is  the  most   significant  part  of  our  learning.  •  Structured  sessions  for  all  students  everyday.  •  Each  student  has  an  essen3al  role  in  each  of  the  Four   Blocks.  •  Strategies  we  put  in  place  during  our  literacy   sessions  overflow  to  all  other  Key  Learning  Areas   (KLAs)  Eg:  answering/asking  ?’s,  commen3ng,   reques3ng,  describing  etc  
  20. 20. AYtude  •  Be  posi3ve  –  students  learn  from  what  is  being  modelled.  •  Atude  of  teachers  –  posi3ve  feedback,  more  sharing,   more  fun,  more  talk  of  success  and  enthusiasm  for  literacy.  •  Feeling  of  pride  when  students  make  progress  and  sharing   their  achievements  with  colleagues.  •  All  students  feel  valued  and  essen3al  to  the  learning   because  of  the  high  level  of  opportunity  and  the  supported   success.  •  Sense  of  achievements  for  all  students  –  they  believe  they   are  readers  and  writers  and  work  accordingly.  •  When  our  students  see  our  enthusiasm  they  get  excited   too.  
  21. 21. Wri;ng  •  Making  wri3ng  meaningful  –  set  a  purpose  •  Introducing  Flipcharts  gives  all  students  in  the   class  the  opportunity  to  create  a  piece  of  wri3ng.   It  also  is  a  great  opportunity  to  be  engaged  and   have  1:1  3me  with  staff  members.  •  Flipcharts  presented  challenges  –  geng   students  to  look  at  the  le]ers  they  were  touching   or  pulling  off  and  reading  students  eye  gaze   responses.  
  22. 22. Wri3ng  pencils  
  23. 23. Flipcharts allowstudents whoare unable to usetraditional pencils toproduce text. Theyare able to chooseletters by pointing tothem, pulling offvelcro letters orusing their eyegaze. Choices canthen be confirmedverbally or usingyes/no visuals.
  24. 24. Wri;ng          Wri3ng  on  the       computer  using   keyboard  frames   allows  students  to   select  specific   individual  le]ers   and  coloured  keys   make  le]er   iden3fica3on   easier.  
  25. 25. Wri3ng  
  26. 26. Wri;ng  –    Working    with  words    Students  who  have  difficulty  spelling  words  and  making  sentences  use  the  word  wall  to  find  words  .  This  gives  them  opportuni3es  to  experience  success  and  as  their  confidence  develops,  so  too  does  the  standard  of  wri3ng.  
  27. 27. Working  with  Words  •  Each  week  5  new  words  are  introduced  –  3  from  the   ‘100  most  common  word  list’  and  2  others.  I  choose   words  that  are  relevant  to  our  class  (eg:  staff/ student/subject  names),  related  to  the  weekly  text   or  words  that  reoccur  in  students  wri3ng.  •  There  are  a  variety  of  different  ac3vi3es  that  allow   students  to  become  familiar  with  these  words  that   can  be  fun  and  hands  on.  •  There  are  also  lots  of  opportunity  for  students  with   CCN  to  direct  learning  experiences.  
  28. 28. Working  with  words  
  29. 29. Working  with  Words  
  30. 30. Word  wall  
  31. 31. Guided  Reading  •  Each  week  we  have  a  text  that  we  read  every  day.  •  Before  we  start  reading  we  set  a  purpose  and  share   what  we  know  about  the  topic  (Prior  knowledge).    •  Knowing  our  students  and  using  their  interests  is  key   when  selec3ng  our  texts.  Last  years  my  boys  loved   anything  about  animals,  especially  dogs,  so  it  was  a   recurring  theme.  We  were  able  to  look  at  a  wide   variety  of  texts  types  –  non  fic3on,  fic3on,  picture   books,  chapter  books,  poetry,  ebooks  
  32. 32. Using  assis;ve  technology  •  Very  simple  to  more  complex  •  One  step  –  Introduce  book:  Title,  Author  and   Illustrator.  •  Mul3  step  –  repeated  lines  or  phrases  (Video)  •  Make  a  comment    -­‐  “excuse  me,  I  have  something  to   say”,  “  Can  you  repeat  that  line  please?”  •  Make  a  choice  •  Choose  a  response  from  visuals  –  pictures,  photos  or   Boardmaker  symbols.  •  Answer  ques3ons/complete  cloze  ac3vi3es  using  the   Smartboard  –  hands  on,  wireless  mouse  •  Ipad  
  33. 33. Self  Selected  Reading  •  Modelled  /serial  reading  •  Choosing  books  students  can  read  gives  them   confidence  to  want  to  read  more  •  Partner  Assisted  Auditory  Scanning  –  choice  making  •  Visual  support  for  discussions  •  Responses  on  a  Speech  Genera3ng  Device  (SGD)  –   Yes,  that’s  the  one.  •  Asking    -­‐  can  I  read  with  you  today?  
  34. 34. Self  Selected  Reading  
  35. 35. Student  Successes  •  Lachie  -­‐  wri3ng  •  Bailey  -­‐  reading  •  Mitch  –  concepts  of  print  •  Kris3an  –  le]er  recogni3on  •  Brandon  –  use  of  word  wall  words  in  wri3ng  •  Ashley  –  behaviour  •  Peer  mentoring  •  Understanding,  pa3ence  and  tolerance  
  36. 36. Differences  for  me  •  Organisa3on  •  Meaningful  inclusion  •  Engagement  with  every  student  each  day  •  Pa3ence  •  Rising  to  challenges  •  Accountability  •  Valuing  my  role  in    students  learning