I always start my #2021Inquiry posts with this slide deck as it shows the journey I have been on so far and acknowledges the influences I have had in schools or in research. Especially recognising the schools or people that have influenced my thinking on Slide 2 as I have had some incredible teams along the way.
Over the last 7 years researching/experiencing different programmes, schemes, practices, curriculums I just love finding ways to bring research into practice. You can read my previous blog posts here. Where I dive into the research behind my thinking.
But as part of my blog posts I want to also share some of the practical resources I use with my learners to foster skills and knowledge.
Welcome on board the "Training Train Toolkit"! Each session I give the learners the 'Training Train Toolkit' and we think of ways we can use the different parts of English in our writing.
I have been refining using colourful semantics over the years and I am very excited to share this project with you as I said before - English has been haunting my sleep some nights this year as I have had to question how I know some parts of English myself.
I have been trying to make phrases such as 'adverbial clauses' more accessible so that I am not just standing with blank stares coming back at me haha - there have been many!
As part of the #Empathetic_Educators conversations I have also been exploring the questions - What 'knowledge' is important for our learners to know? and What skills are critical too?
So, in the slides above you can see how and why I have been using the "Training Train Toolkit" in lessons and over the upcoming weeks I plan to add some videos to the resource bank of this website so that you can see how I am implementing it in our lessons.
Aims of the 'Training Train Toolkit'
- Give learners more support in understanding the different parts of their sentence structure
- Help learners take ownership of their writing instead of relying only on an adult to give feedback and check work
- Give visual prompts to add to the learners work instead of solely relying on verbal cues
- Weave together creativity and comprehension, trying to create opportunities that engage the learners while exploring their English learning. (trying to make it fun)
What have I noticed while using the 'Training Train Toolkit'?
- As a teacher of 100% bilingual (some more than two languages) before using the "Training Train Toolkit" I was having to give other examples of English with 'less technical' vocabulary and my learners still found the idea challenging. So, since I started using the 'Training Train Toolkit' I have seen the barriers being removed as I can give visual feedback instead of trying to communicate only with verbal cues.
- Like I said I have been using colours for years with my learners where we highlight the checklist. However, the train metaphor has helped to show the learners that there are different 'parts' to the sentence and those parts can move depending on what the purpose of the sentence is.
- More than anything I have seen a shift in independent writing. I don't know about others but I have spent the last year trying to talk about nouns and articles and asking questions such as 'where should we put the in our sentences.' especially because the Japanese language structures sentences differently.
So since using the 'Training Train Toolkit' I have noticed the learners editing and improving and using the different parts of their sentences correctly, more consistently. (not all the time but definitely more consistently). And my hunch is a part of it is to do with our shared oral understanding throughout the class so we are consolidating the pathways rather than before where I was continually referring to different parts of English with no common visual base.
I am excited to keep inquiring to see if my hunch could be right.
I am going to continue to refine and scaffold this Toolkit but I wanted to share now because it truly has changed the conversations with my learners.
I have worked hard of the years to refine and get the "Training Train Toolkit" to this point and as many of you know I love talking about all things education so if you would like more information or would like to use this resource please feel free to get in contact and I can send you more resources/details.
I am always refining and learning about how I can grow my practice to ensure I am supporting my learners so if you have any feedback on the 'Training Train Toolkit' then please let me know.
Or if you have any resources that you use that helps foster Comprehension, Creativity and Critical thinking in your classroom I would love to hear from you.
Remember our choices have any impact - what impact are you going to have?