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A response from the Antipodes

Posted By: Marie Vingelis on June 12, 2004
This is a quick response, as i am on the 'hop!' ( as opposed to on the hops. Ok I don't see any dilemma in the two sitting in close proximity. ( I am an educator in South Australia- currently the great US of A is shipping us out in the droves to rectify problems -- sorry that sounded a bit imperious. I actually did a stint in NYC myself last year.
We have a series of on going tests which are quite comprehensive here and sit nicely with inquiry based learning .... There is the Early Years Assessment ( Literacy based) given to all students in their 5 term of schooling ( release time is supplied of course to do this) much of this test is based on Marie Clay's work. We also do an oral language assessment, which we track each term, quite important where i am as the majority of students are ESL -93%, plus a similiar exercise in written language - covering quite a few genres. These are also ongoing ... with teachers being supported and trained to keep ancedotal records. They are skilled in doing this through very good PD. Similiarly there is a fantastic Numeracy tool now being trialled which support the'constructivist' learning style ..i love it ... it does take some time to do but well worth the effort in terms of informing the learning dynamic.
In the meantime i teach in a Reception Year 1 class of 24 students ... 22 who are ESL, one Down's Syndrome child and one with ADHD. They are all reading well- even 4 who have only been at school for 7 weeks ( lowest level there is 5 - Top students are reading novels. They all work on negotiated learning ... a lot of this is fuelled through play ... that is another story ... i use HOTS- Higher Order Thinking Skills as one of my tools ..... We have a comprehensive literacy block- every day - 2 hours ..
My background has been as a Principal and a teacher educator ... this is the first time back full time in a classroom in over 15 years. I am loving it!!!!
Keep the passion!
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 Inquiry as Obfuscation by William Brown on June 9, 2004
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