September 23, 2009
You will have to forgive us going on and on about the recent Consult and Collaborate Conference. There was just so much there for parents as well as teachers, and it was good that Speech Pathologists and Guidance officers were also there. We had one very excited parent come rushing up, as she and her son had been wandering down below and saw the conference – and she wanted to see what was there. Very excitedly she had wandered around to all the exhibitors, collecting valuable information for her son and family.
I guess the moral of the story is that if your child has learning delays, keep an eye on conferences for teachers as very often there is valuable information for parents as well. Many of the key speakers have private practices, so there would have been much valuable information for parents as well.
September 17, 2009
What an exciting time we are having! We are in preparation for the Consult and Collaborate Joint Conference 2009 at the Brisbane Conference Centre on the 18th and 19th September and we are almost leaping and squealing with excitement! It is our honour to be satchel sponsors – but what we are exceptionally excited about is the launch of our In the Garden Literacy Package!
Filled with innovative and exciting resources for teachers, this package is not just the culmination of hard work, but an absolute celebration of the value of dedicated and committed professionals collaborating to create a resource of best practice across so many domains. We will be thanking the wonderful people who have collaborated with us – from Sarah Amies (Author and illustrator), Anne-Maree Garcia (Multi-media guru), Patrick Mitchell (narrator and story-teller), Tina Kriedemann (The Purple Jam Studio / Brisbane), Angie Sublime (Sublime Music Studio/ Brisbane) and Iris Wesling (St. Eugene Catholic College, Burpengary), these people have given blood, sweat and tears to make this launch on Friday a spectacular success.
The Literacy Package consists of 7 in the Garden student texts, a Big Book, some visual processing Mystery Sheets, a CD of music suitable for assembly items (and tapping into another sensory learning pathway), a DVD of supported reading modes, and a teacher resource book, jam-packed with black-line masters, strategies and activities suitable for develping higher-order thinking. What can I say? We are justifiably proud of it, and hope many of you are able to join us at the launch.
Hopefully we will also see many of you at the conference – we are just so excited about being there and renewing friendships with those who attended the last conference – and meeting new conference participants.
January 16, 2009
There is a sense of excitement in the air at 5energies! Yesterday the first Basic training for 2009 began, with a new group of talented, enthusiastic teachers giving up their holiday time to train in the 5energies model. This surely indicates the commitment that teachers have towards improving their professional practices, but also optimising opportunities for their learners. What is exciting from our perspective though, is the amount of laughter and enjoyment, and the willingness of these teachers to contribute their expertise to make the professional discussions so much richer.
As the presenters, Alex and I find these training sessions so exciting – the potential within their schools to create change is so immense! The exchange of information between professions is also so empowering – each time I listen to Alex, as a very experienced speech pathologist, I learn something new. We also have our first trainer coming online too – this is a person who has been working in the 5energies model for the past two years, and is now embarking on the journey to become a qualified trainer. Now that is exciting too!
We will be putting the new learning calendar up in the next few days, so if you are interested in the next Basic Training sessions, please contact the office for more information.
October 20, 2008
Alex and I have been so fortunate over the past month. During the school term break, we facilitated the training of another five teachers and a speech pathologist who are engaging with our 5energies vision of helping children with learning delays. These astute and intelligent women put in a tiring but highly rewarding three days of basic training, but as with any excellent training, Alex and I also engaged in our own learning journey too, learning as much from the participants as I think they learned from us. These newly trained 5energies people have already returned to their workplaces and the stories that we are already hearing about their successes is phenomenal.
Four of the teachers have engaged immediately in screening in their school, along with a previously trained facilitator, and with a limited amount of assistance from Mel, our talented Occupational Therapist, Alex, our brilliant Speech Pathologist and me, they have successfully discovered the capabilities of some 88 children. We had a planning day today where they are catering intrinisically for the individual needs of these children, and have planned a targeted, focussed program for the majority of these learner, to be implemented over the next term. Congratulations to all of these teachers for their willingness to engage in the process, their high expertise and their sense of humour!
Another facilitator in a different school reported that her school too is doing very well, and providing targeted programs of intervention, and that three words in particular sum up the parent comments about 5energies: caring and compassion with a sense of humour. What a lovely comment to receive.
September 13, 2008
What a brilliant time we had on Wednesday night! it was a three hour Oral Language workshop, and thanks must go to the teachers involved for giving up their time after hours for professional learning. The photos shows Alexandra sharing ‘critters’ from our box of stuffed animals (frill neck lizard, snake, spiders, etc), in readiness for creating an oral story, and making the leap to writing, and how that oral story changes.
There was lots of laughter, lots of fun, and it was lovely to meet teachers from two more schools. We will be putting up the schedule of workshops for term 4 very shortly so if you are interested in any of these, please check the calendar.
August 27, 2008
Today I happened to be listening to Question Time in Parliament, and was intrigued by the concept of ‘quality teachers’. There would be few who would dispute the need for quality teachers: there is so much reseach which shows that quality teachers and teaching / learning programs contribute integrally to the success of children in classrooms. This is also the year of the ‘education revolution’ and it is long overdue for children with learning delays.
What makes a quality teacher? Is ‘quality’ about professional application of practical skills, classroom and behaviour management, high-level understanding of curriculum or interpersonal and communication skills? Is it about the curious and seeking teacher, the one who continually updates knowledge and skills or the teacher who collaborates with others to find workable solutions to assist children to learn? I have been fortunate in that most teachers of my acquaintance are dedicated, committed individuals who would do somersaults if it meant that it would help children to learn, but is that enough in today’s world? What do you view as an essential characteristic of the ‘quality teacher’?
*** 5energies Basic Training (three days of professional learning about our integrated framework of screening, assessemnt and strategy development will take place in September: please contact us for more information if you would like to participate in this professional learning.
August 23, 2008
On Wednesday, another successful professional learning session took place! The PD on untangling the learning pathways, an exploration of the role that perceptual motor or sensory motor skill development plays in the acquisition of literacy and numeracy, was a wonderful experience (according to feedback). Again, lots of laughter and learning, lots of fabulous people, wonderful presenters and excellent food (thanks again Rochelle). Our aim with these sessions is to tap into what participants know, but to extend those understandings and share our knowledge. Alexandra (Alex) is a speech pathologist with an explicit understanding of the classroom, Lisa is teacher extraordinaire and Melinda (Mel or ‘M’), with her dual degrees in Occupational Therapy and Education, has such a unique pespective on the classroom as well. Additionally the participants of this PD were wonderful, contributing so much to the success of this interactive PD.
The picture shows one of the activities, where participants are untangling learning pathways! What can I say? If you want more information, please check the website for the next PD session!
August 19, 2008
Quite a number of years ago, while team-teaching at an inner suburban school with an amazingly intuitive teacher Kate C, we had sixty five year old children between the two classes. These children were as all five years olds are: enthusiastic, full of energy, bubbly, determined and fun to teach. Kate was (and probably still is) such a great teacher that each day was an adventure for all of us. However, we were having difficulties when it came to writing, with at least half the class beginning on the right side instead of the left, with some children writing straight down the middle of the page, and some even from bottom to top. Despite the best of modelling, reminders, huge ‘X’ at the left hand side, the whole exercise was getting to the anxiety stage – for us as teachers!!
Fortunately a friend had introduced me to the joys of perceptual motor programs, and we began a fortnight of ‘right’ activities. Everything, from foot placement, to throwing activities, to dance sessions, to using musical instruments, everything began with the right hand or foot. Within a fortnight, every single child knew immediately what we were talking about if we said to find the right hand, foot or side of the body. Seems too logical doesn’t it? Sometimes the best journeys begin with a magical ‘aha!’ moment, don’t they?
Long story short, we then took a look at other areas, and began a structured perceptual motor program for every child in that dual class – and the results were astonishing. By the end of the year, there were few children wtih learning difficulties, and if they were still identifiable, and had been referred to professionals for specialist attention, they were deemed as very minor delays, and to continue our program of assessment, focussed activities and extension in a remarkably fun environment.
*** Please note: Our introduction to ‘Untanging the Learning Pathways: Perceptual Motor Skills’ is taking bookings now. At 5energies, we are all converts to the importance of finding out what each child’s learning pathways are doing from a sensory perspective: if you want an excellent introduction, please give us a ring to book in for this workshop.
August 12, 2008
What a fantastic evening! Last Wednesday nine teachers, parents and learning support assistants from a variety of schools joined Alex and Lisa for a professional learning evening devoted to sounds, syllables and spelling. There was much enthusiasm, laughter and deep and meaningful ‘AHA! ‘ moments. The main outcome of the evening was a greater understanding of how to help children who require assistance with phonological awareness, and their understanding and use of spelling rules. It was just such a fantastic evening for parents, teachers and learning support assistants who all worked together so well.
We are so fortunate in the calibre of the people who facilitated the PD as well. Alex is a very experienced Speech Pathologist, with a passion for assisting children, and sometimes we, as teachers, overlook how much speech pathology can offer educators! Lisa, who also presented, is one of the most knowledgeable teachers around, in terms of her professional approach, and developing effective strategies and programs for children with learning delays. Thanks also to Rochelle. Her professional support and her wonderful catering contributed immensely to the success of the workshop. What a fabulous evening of learning, laughter and fun!
*** Come and join the next workshop on perceptual motor development with Alex, Melinda (another super star with dual degrees in education and occupational therapy) and Lisa. The three day workshop covering the ten domains underpinning learning and use of the FILTA has been scheduled for September 2008 and January, 2009. We look forward to your joining us for more fun-filled and interactive workshops!