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The importance of visual display - the role of PI resources

 
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debbie



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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:11 am    Post subject: The importance of visual display - the role of PI resources Reply with quote

The importance of visual display - the role of PI resources:

Visual display has an extremely important role to play in teaching and learning - particularly the teaching of reading and spelling.

I have not yet seen any class, or school, where the full potential of visual display for phonics teaching has been fully exploited.

That doesn't mean that huge efforts have not been made - in many cases they have - certainly by individual teachers.

Many of us are familiar by now with the notion of posters or friezes of alphabet letters or alphabetic code in Reception and infant classes - but how many of these are now being produced which are attractive at the expense of being CLEAR?

In addition, are friezes and posters always used appropriately and systematically?

For example, why do I often see 'simple code' alphabetic code friezes in year two classes where the time for the children (in English-speaking countries) to have needed a visual mnemonic to learn the 'simple code' should have been complete in a Reception class - or perhaps a year one class for schools slow to start or for strugglers?

Where is the progression?

In a year two class, in general terms, the teacher is usually expecting the children to write independently. In England, the government actually expects the children to fulfil end of year two writing assessments where they have written in specific TEXT GENRES. In other words, these children are expected to be well past the stage of learning the basic letter/s-sound correspondences displayed on various commercial posters.

I might expect, in an ideal classroom, posters which show some organisation of The Alphabetic Code - the complexities of spelling alternatives for the 44 or so sounds and pronunciation alternatives for some common spellings.

So, I am suggesting that any teacher beyond Reception should be considering the helpfulness of visual display in terms of a more complete Alphabetic Code illustrating the relationships between the 44 sounds of speech and the spelling alternatives. Whilst I have seen some teachers adapt their commercial friezes by adding on some additional words with the same spellings - and/or using the same picture cue but adding on alternative spellings, is this the best organisation possible?

This is one reason why I have provided a variety of Alphabetic Code charts and posters. They are very useful as a whole school document, "This is the Alphabetic Code that we are accountable for teaching in our school". This is no small thing - and, in my opinion, a huge advance on what has gone on in most schools.

Such a chart can give clear direction to the teaching as well as provide a good visual aid for organising and understanding The Alphabetic Code for staff and students - and even for parents who are interested in the teaching and willing to work in partnership in at least some cases!

I have given a great deal of thought to the role mnemonic systems play in teaching letter/s-sound correspondences. I believe that there are definitely some systems that are better than others. Some commercial programme designers are totally opposed to any catchy mnemonic systems at all - on the basis that they are not really necessary and can also be a detraction or counter-productive to learning the letter/s-sound correspondence. It is important to show how these work in real words for reading and spelling - rather than just showing correspondences in isolation.

I think these worries are valid in at least some cases.

There may well be a role, however, for mnemonic systems which are memorable and catchy and fun for some children - and especially for some of our younger children.

The CAREFUL USE of a mnemonic system is an important teaching and learning issue to consider. If children learn quickly, do we need them? Or if they are helpful and fun HOW LONG DO WE GO ON FOCUSING ON THEM? Many times I have tested children's reading of text - and they can read - and then I test their letter/s-sound correspondences and they automatically think that they should be doing some actions or saying a keyword or character name. Why would 'reading' children still being showing signs of the original mnemonic system instead of simply saying the sound (phoneme) in response to seeing the letter/s?

Too many teachers hang on to mnemonic systems way longer than is necessary or helpful - and this is not always the fault of the original design - just the USE of the design. Some commercial programmes, however, lead the teachers to use the mnemonic catch forever and ever - making me think that the programme designers themselves aren't always entirely clear about the usefulness of the mnemonic system.

So, Phonics International has been designed not to overplay the notion of mnemonic systems on the one hand but colourful illustrations have been included in a broader sense as a stimulus for word work, for word associations and to enable vocabulary develpment which the individual teacher needs to enhance.

To an extent, the constant opportunity for the learners to draw their own pictures may act as a mnemonic system of sorts - and certainly this provides an incentive to engage with the work.

The online nature of Phonics International has enabled me to produce posters for every letter/s-sound correspondence introduced in the form of very plain, simple Mini Posters with cumulative words and occasional tricky words.

These posters do not need to be elaborate. The idea is that they are used to support the use of the Sounds Book activity sheets and that the teacher should have no more than a handful on display at any one time and that the older ones are taken down as new ones are displayed. There could be a 'rolling programme' of their use. This is the same with the Picture Posters which are currently available in units 1 to 6. Use them, refer to them and then take them down when new learning is introduced.

Ideally, every classroom teacher needs to identify a very prominent phonics display board at eye level where possible.

This could then be used for the Mini Posters and Picture Posters, perhaps just one or two Sounds Book activity sheets or Read the words, make up a story sheets which have been completed by the learners and which will encourage the learners to take pride in their drawings, reading and spelling - and, of course, a version of The Alphabetic Code overview charts.

I use the Say the Sounds posters in units 1 to 5 very frequently - both for individual assessment sheets and for sticking in the Sounds Books which go backwards and forwards to 'home' and as A3 posters around the classroom for casual use. Space permitting, you could put one of the most current ones up on your main display board. Include some tricky words posters which you introduce gradually - or as needed.

I am currently using several versions of The Alphabetic Code charts. I like to use the Giant black and white versions for specific groups of children where we colour in with the matching-coloured pencil crayon as we complete the Sounds Book activity sheets. The learners are able to see where they are heading, what they have completed - and the teachers are able to use the charts as constant points of reference whether for wider reading or spelling and writing actitivities.

Elsewhere in the school, we have the full colour version of The Giant Alphabetic Code overview chart. Teaching assistants keep the colour version of the chart with 'Teaching Points' in their regular-use file for ready reference. Then, for older pupils, they wanted their own 'Build the code' charts (A4x2) in their files so they could plot their individual progress. It just gives them a sense of satisfaction to have their own chart.

If phonics has to be week in and week out for a few years, surely the greater the understanding of The Alphabetic Code and what they are learning is the best way forward!

And what I would have given to have had such charts at the outset of my teaching career and at the outset of being a parent. Here I am - now a grandparent - and I am only enjoying their advantage at this late stage!

I see infant classes which look really fabulous with great art work and topic work and yet no clear 'work-in-progress' phonics displays. I am suggesting that we can really think about this much more than we do - and that being pretty and colourful is not the main purpose of visual display for this kind of teaching.

In any event, multi-SENSORY teaching and learning is by far the most effective teaching when this is undertaken with the maximum thought. Just as much as teachers need to provide quiet areas for phonics work to enable maximum hearing, learners also need to see mouth movements, facial expressions, be made aware that the volume in words is mainly provided by the VOWEL SOUNDS and then they need constant visual reminders of the UNITS OF SOUND (the letter/s-sound correspondences) and of exemplar words and unusual common words.

Simply displaying lists of words for children to blend both planned and through independent activities is also very helpful indeed.

Remember that you also need a poster of The Alphabet in addition to your Alphabetic Code charts and the correspondences you are introducing that week.

Your display will therefore include some permanent features and some of the 'rolling programme' variety - but it should be - dare I say it - an 'organic' thing - a living, breathing display which moves and changes and is part of the daily and weekly teaching and learning processes.

Don't be too 'precious' about it. Be quick at putting things up and taking them down. Write on the posters - whether paper based or laminated (dry-write pens).

If you are fortunate enough to have a display-sized magnetic whiteboard, take advantage and try to laminate and add sticky-backed magnetic tape to those resources you will need to return to over and again - or that make excellent independent activities and games for the learners.

Finally, because there is never enough display board for my teaching purposes, I have utilised some card concertina displays in the school where I work part-time. Blu-tac is the method of attaching the Alphabetic Code charts and bulldog clips are ideal for any of the daily posters etc. needed. Two groups have their own Alphabetic Code charts and we have the colour 'mini' version of the chart as a reference for the colours to colour-in the letter/s-sound correspondence sections.

Finally, I would like to mention 'home-use' of the Phonics International programme. It is just as helpful selecting some key resources to display at home as it is in school. There is plenty of material at A4 size - or less - which can be Blu-tacked on a wardrobe, or fridge or pinboard to act as a visual reminder. Little and often teaching and routines are the best possible way to address phonics teaching.

I hope that I have inspired you to audit your own visual displays - in your homes, in your classrooms and in your schools! This is not intended to take lots of additional time and effort - after all, I have produced the material - all you have to do is press the buttons! Wink
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Debbie Hepplewhite


Last edited by debbie on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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debbie



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today we have added a new resource onto the list of available resources for the free unit 1 - A4 Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters. You can locate these on the bottom of the list of resources for unit 1 (all new resources are added to the bottom of the list!).

There is an Alphabetic Code Frieze Poster for every grapheme introduced in unit 1.

The Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters for units 2 to 6 will be uploaded and available for your use very shortly - making a total of around 100 new posters for no extra charge.

I have made some suggestions for use already in the 'updates' section which I shall copy and paste to this posting.

I hope you find these new posters useful.

I shall be expanding on this strand for alternative spellings to appear collectively (for example, the /ee/ poster and the /oa/ poster etc.) and for the graphemes introduced in units 7 to 12 in the near future. Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As mentioned above, I have copied and pasted the suggestions below from the 'updates' forum as these ideas are pertinent to this thread:

Quote:
The Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters are A4 in size and ideal for visual display.

You might choose to use them only as you introduce each new letter/s-sound correspondence, or you might use them as part of a 'rolling programme' or, perhaps, use them as you introduce each whole unit. The posters are colour-coded according to their unit with a band of colour at the bottom of each poster.

Classrooms with plenty of space could use them as a background frieze around the room and then refer to them as you focus on each grapheme.

Alternately, you could use a few at a time on your actual 'phonics wall display'.

I am really encouraging the practice of every class teacher identifying an ample-sized phonics wall display as a vital part of their teaching. I see this very rarely in my teacher-training travels I am sad to say. I might, however, see a commercial programme's frieze posters in classes which should be beyond that stage of the Alphabetic Code - but then there are very few posters available for teachers to use in a progressive way. One huge advantage of an online phonics programme is the ease with which it can provide a significant amount of visual display resources for the rolling programme of work for several years' worth of work!

With the range of resources of the Phonics International programme, teachers can regularly use such a wall display with a rolling programme of the various posters as appropriate.

They could also include a semi-permanent version of The Alphabetic Code overview chart on, or near, this wall display - for constant reference (or colouring-in as new correspondences are taught).

You could include 'rehearsal' resources such as the Say the Sounds posters currently available in units 1 to 5.

Please try to make a truly work-in-progress-wall-display part of your effective teaching and learning practice.

I think the new Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters would also be good for displaying in clip files or other transparent leaf presentation files - and they would look equally effective if they were reduced in size to make A5 booklets or mini-clip-files.

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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters are now uploaded in units 1 to 6 making an additional 100 useful posters available in the Phonics International programme. Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update:

There are now Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters for the full Phonics International programme throughout units 1 to 12.

In addition, the new Early Years Starter Package has been launched which includes smaller A5 Frieze Posters with lower case letters only and the same picture mnemonics as the Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters in the full PI programme. These Frieze Posters can be used at home for young beginners - display only a few at a time as the new letter/s-sound correspondences are introduced - don't ovewhelm the learner with too much information at once.

The Early Years Starter Package Frieze Posters double up as beginners A5 Flash Cards - a gentle way in to using Grapheme Flash Cards with young beginners.
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Debbie Hepplewhite
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debbie



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am still looking for fantastic use of the range of PI reference charts and posters.

Would anyone be willing to take a photo of their KEY DISPLAY WALL which should be a prominent and permanent feature of their classroom?

There should, ideally, be a permanent 'GIANT' Alphabetic Code Overview Chart for constant reference in both planned phonics lessons and incidental moments of phonics teaching during the day.

There should, ideally, be a semi-permanent display of ALPHABETIC CODE FRIEZE POSTERS of the focus unit and graphemes. These might be reduced to A5 (half-sized) for older students.

There should, ideally, be a semi-permanent display of the MINI POSTERS which provide the focus graphemes in all positions in exemplar words and accompany the introduction of each SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEET.

In addition, the teacher should call upon the any GROUPING THE SPELLING ALTERNATIVES POSTER when revisiting a 'sound' and introducing the next grapheme. This enables revision and helps to teach the concepts of spelling alternatives.

Ideally, there should be an enlarged SAY THE SOUNDS POSTER at easy reach for the learners to constantly be able to say the sounds and 'point to the graphemes' on hearing the sounds - and each learner should also have one of these in their clip files - for use in school and at home. Don't forget that these are also ideal ongoing assessment resources!

Please do take some pride in your key teaching and learning phonics display. This is so helpful for both supporting the teaching and reinforcing the learning.

How about sending me some photos so that we can add them to our photo gallery?

This may well inspire other people to step up their teaching quality and effectiveness! Wink
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