Monday, 30 September 2013

Pins of the Week: Literacy Edition

It is mid-way through the school holidays here in Sydney, and I am feeling energetic! Time for some mid-holiday Pinspiration! This week, a lot of great ideas to support the teaching of literacy skills have been jumping out at me, so I'm dedicating this week's round-up to literacy. 

Sidewalk Action Letters


Some of the best ideas are born out of necessity, and I'm not sure that there is a more desperate point of need than trying to entertain a young child! Allison McDonald, over at the No Time for Flash Cards blog came up with a great idea while her daughter was playing with sidewalk chalk outdoors. Simply write letters on the ground and come up with an action that starts with each letter. Children can then complete that action while standing on that letter. Simple. Genius! Thanks Allison!

Images for Inference


One of the important skills of visual literacy is inference. What can we infer from looking at the picture above? Even without a caption, we can infer that the man is not happy with the woman speaking on her phone. We can see she is in a cinema and we might guess that the man is an usher at the cinema, enforcing a well-known rule that you shouldn't be talking on your phone in the cinema! Students need to be given lots of opportunities to flex their inferencing muscles, and that's where Rachel Lynette's Inference Pinterest Board comes in. Here you will find a growing collection of great images you can use to help your students learn to inference. Thanks Rachel!



We all know how much kids love McDonalds. Those golden arches are probably one of the first symbols kids learn, as you probably know if you've ever driven past one with a child in your car! I'm definitely not suggesting that you encourage your students to eat junk food, but I can promise you, the second you whip out a couple of McDonalds french fries packets, your kids will be engaged! Miss Speechie at the Speech Time Fun blog uses her french fry packets to teach subjects and predicates. She writes a few of each on yellow paddle pop sticks (also known as pop sticks, popsicle sticks and craft sticks) and has students sort them into their correct containers. This fun activity leads to some great learning about this topic, and the engagement of her students is, no doubt, very high! The concept could be adapted to any literacy topic that requires sorting, or to any other subject matter. I plan to head down to my local Maccas (as we call it here in Australia) and ask the manager if they'd be prepared to donate a few packets to support children's literacy. How can they refuse? Thanks Miss Speechie!

Writing Prompt Heaven!


I'm a sucker for a great writing prompt. Anything that helps us be creative is a good thing, right? Well, I've hit the writing prompt jackpot! I have come across a Pinterest board that focuses on inspiring natural landscapes - I mean super-inspiring! I have started adding some of the awesome images I've found there as writing prompts in my English: Writing Prompts Pinterest board, with questions to help get kids thinking, and there will be more to come! The curator of the landscapes board, Tsahizn Tseh, has lots of other great boards too, so be sure to check them out. Thanks Tsahizn!

Paint Chip Poetry


Like the McDonalds french fry container I mentioned earlier in the post, paint chips are a free resource that can help inspire and enthuse your students. Paint chips are available for free at most hardware stores, and if you don't feel okay about just taking thirty of them, ask the manager. Most people are pretty happy to help a teacher! As with the french fry containers, paint chips have multiple uses, but the one I've chosen to highlight comes from Kelly Hall at the Fabulous in Fourth blog. She had her students come up with metaphors and similes relating to the colour of their paint chip, then write them on the paint chip in each section to publish. If you'd like to see how Kelly displayed the poems (which is awesome, by the way), click here. Thanks Kelly!

I hope these pins have given you lots of ideas to breathe new life into your literacy program. They have certainly inspired me! You can check out my Pinterest boards here if you'd like more ideas. I post lots of great pins every week, so be sure to follow the boards that will be most helpful to you.

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