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
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
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.
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.
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.
What are the Four Blocks? • Mainstream literacy program developed by Patricia Cunningham & Dorothy Hall. • www.fourblocks.com • 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
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.
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).
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
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
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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?