International House London Institute

The International House Montevideo Two-Day Workshop by Natalia Debernardis

Head at St. Francis School in London and Senior Academic Leader at the National College of Education – London

Natalia is a leading primary educator and a reference in all what concerns teaching at Kinder and Primary level.

Literacy through literature (CLPE) – As a committed reader I am a firm believer in the right of all children to enjoy books, to be exposed to high quality texts and develop as readers for life. The Power of Reading project aims to develop a whole school reading culture that is not limited to only reading ‘age’ appropriate texts or reading for assessment bench marks.

Show us a story – Moving images – films, television and video games – play an enormous role in children’s lives. Films offer children access to a visual universe that can carry them beyond their immediate experience. A guideline on how to use them effectively and efficiently in our classrooms.

For the younger ones: Tales Toolkit – Story is a super powerful learning gizmo and Tales Toolkit, a Toolkit for creating Tales. Story has been shown to improve all types of learning and increase engagement and memory capacity. Early writing starts by talking and the sooner children understand story structure the better for them to become confident story writers.

Colourful semantics – simple sentences. Because some of us are visual learners or have children in our classes who have difficulty in understanding or using language we use this strategy that gives a colour code, symbol and Sign Along sign to different types of question words (e.g. who, where, when). It is useful for sentence building, answering questions, reading comprehension and structures for writing.

Beyond simple sentences: When pupils have grasped the subject/verb sentence form, how do we help them to expand their range of sentence types? The issue is one of clarity and insisting that the complex vocabulary often used to extend sentences needs not alienate pupils who might otherwise become enthusiastic writers. So the solution is “Keep it simple: make it stick!”

Non- fiction writing – Writing underpins the whole curriculum and we don’t always exploit it as much as we could. Here are some steps to success when writing non-fiction outside the literacy hour.

Learning challenges Focus Learning Challenge Approach. This is an approach to planning and delivery rather than a scheme of work. It is driven by ensuring that the curriculum meets the distinctive needs of the pupils based on their context. The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.

A rich Science curriculum – revamp your science curriculum so you are not only focusing on biology. Try to balance it with chemistry and physics as well as scientific investigation. Ensure you show progression across the school and avoid disengaged pupils who get tired of revisiting the same topics year after year.