Monday, 29 February 2016

Trauma and Learning

Today I attended an informative workshop on Trauma and Learning.

Students with trauma may have experienced refugee experience, residing out of home, have experienced neglect or abuse, illness/hospitalisation or severe cultural dislocation.

Recent research has shown that traumatic experiences in childhood can diminish concentration, memory, social skills, language development and academic ability at school.  What has also been discovered is that educators are misunderstanding the reasons underlying some children's difficulties with learning and this can profoundly hinder the student's learning.

Traumatised children can display behaviour that is profoundly misunderstood and the role of the educator in the lives of the traumatised student is crucial.  Research clearly shows that regardless of the adversity they face a child can develop and maintain a positive attachment to school, and gain an enthusiasm for learning.  This goes to show how important building trusting and caring relationships with all students.

Behaviours that a traumatised child can demonstrate are internal (behaviours and characteristics shown by students can be being withdrawn, numb, frozen, depressed, fear, perfectionism, shame or anxiety) and/or external, also referred to "acting-out" (behaviours and characteristics shown by students are reactivity, impulsivity, anxiety, aggression, shame, defiance or perfectionism.)
If we look behind the acting-out behaviour of traumatised students we see that many are suffering from deep, long-lasting pain and it is not that they won't behave like other children but they can't.
Recovery from trauma will occur best in the context of healing relationships therefore the role of educators in the lives of children by trauma can't be underestimated.
(Calmer Classrooms - A guide to working with traumatised children (Child Safety Commissioner Victoria 2007)

A student who has experienced trauma can react to a situation, an event or trigger and then this is followed by a behaviour whether it is internal and/or external which in turn provokes a reaction in others.  This then gets the student in a state of heightened arousal and stress as the reaction in others is perceived as an additional threat to them.  This is when we can't reason with the student at all.  It is vital to allow for a calm down time.
Forming secure and stable relationships with our students is crucial.  For our students who are traumatised is the difference between success or failure.

Let's have a look at the importance of attachment from the very beginning.
Attachment, the emotional bond formed between a child and its primary caretaker, profoundly influences the developing brain.  Failed attachment, whether caused by abuse, neglect or emotionally unavailability on the part of the caretaker, can negatively impact brain structure and function, causing developmental trauma.

Secure and stable relationships are the foundations for social and emotional health that lead to secure and stable relationships.

Look at this video below, Dr Edward Tronick demonstrated the reaction of baby when mum doesn't respond to the baby.   This is called The Still Face Experiment.

After watching this I wondered could control crying cause damage to a child?  What are your thoughts?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Five for Friday

Welcome back to another Five for Friday hosted by Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Growth Mindset Display.
I have my Snoopy Growth Mindset on display in my room.  You can find this resource on TPT.  Just follow the link below.

The Snoopy Growth Mindset "How High Can You Fly?" is based on the visual below "Which Step Have You Reached Today?"

Collecting Data
I am collecting data on all the children I teach so that I can place them on the literacy continuum and in their correct clusters.

Professional Discussions.
I will be presenting a workshop with a wonderful colleague.  Our presentation will be on Making Thinking Visible.  

Running Records
Part of my data collection is also finding the child's instructional level by using running records.
Running records are a great tool to help teachers identify patterns in a child's reading behaviour.  They help teachers to document progress over time and a teacher can find the appropriate text level for a child.

"The single most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly."
David Ausubel 
I am Roaming around the Known with my new Reading Recovery children.
During this time the teacher has the opportunity to observe the child closely.  Valuing what the child already knows and designing appropriate reading and writing tasks using Clay's teaching procedures will support children to become strategic readers and writers.

Until next time.

Sunday, 14 February 2016



Started reading this book today and couldn't put it down.  Students in Paul Solarz classroom demonstrate collaboration and student leadership.  They are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning.  I will be reviewing this book in more detail in the near future and I highly recommend it.
Working on...
An integrated unit for the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"(Bill Martin Jr/ Eric Carle).
A free Valentine's Day product on TPT follow of link below.

This pack aims to celebrate Valentine's Day with developing friendships amongst your class using the character Snoopy and his friends. 

The beginning of the school year is always exhausting for everyone as we settle into our new routine and plan for the year ahead.

Being part of the blog community.  As a newie can't wait to become connected with more bloggers.  Thank you Kacey for inviting other bloggers to link up with Five for Friday.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Gift of Teaching


"Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning."
We remember the teachers that touched our hearts and made a difference and we also remember the teachers who left us feeling anxious and afraid of learning or making mistakes. 
Great teachers inspire children and celebrate efforts encouraging and inspiring children to learn.

Here are some videos about the art of teaching for inspiration...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Power of Friendship.


We all can relate to the importance of friendship and that having a friend is a true gift that can't be bought.  Children naturally play, laugh and enjoy the company of their friends, however, at times children as well as adults take for granted how important friendship is and how we underestimate this treasure.  

Let's celebrate friendship this Valentines Day by talking to children about our friends and also giving them the opportunity to realise the importance of this wonderful treasure.

I have created a FREE Valentines Pack with Snoopy and friends (Charlie Brown and Woodstock) BE MY VALENTINE FRIEND with printables.  You can find this product by following the link below.

Discuss with the children...
What makes a good friend?
What do good friends do?
Give a compliment to yourself and a friend.

There are many books on friendship.  
Some of my favourites are:-

Charlottes Web (E.B.White)

Elephant and Piggie Series (Mo Willems)
Toad and Frog (Arnold Lobel)
Rainbow Fish (Marcus Pfister)

We need to share and discuss friendships with children.  Also give and receive compliments.   

The movie UP has a beautiful part that demonstrates friendship.  You can show this and discuss it with the children.

I can certainly say that I have been blessed to have some marvellous friends in my life.  They certainly have lifted me up when I was down and we have shared many wonderful memories together.  I still have contact with some friends from my primary school years.  

They say that a diamond is a girls best friend but I would trade it any day for a friend.  A diamond doesn't laugh and cry with you!
A Friend is a GIFT you give to yourself.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

10 Growth Mindset Strategies for Teachers and Parents

10 Growth Mindset Strategies for Teachers and Parents.

Here is a list of 10 strategies that will promote and encourage a Growth Mindset.

1. Praise Effort rather than a child's ability.  As educators and as parents we should praise the process over the end product or result.

2. Allow children to fail and acknowledge imperfections.

3. Try new things with the children that are challenging.

4. Teach children about the brain and how the brain works and learns.

5. Use the word YET.

6. Encourage children to persevere.

7. Demonstrate and view challenges as opportunities.

8. The importance of Practice Practice and Practice.

9. The power of words.  Use words that promote and encourage a Growth Mindset.

10. Model Model and Model all of the above.

Having a Growth Mindset means you are training your brain to get smarter...

A small animation explaining a Growth and Fixed Mindset.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Growth Mindset Quotes



I'm excited about the Growth Mindset Set I have developed with a Snoopy theme.  You can find this set at

Here are some posters in the set that promote a Growth Mindset.  

A student with a Growth Mindset thrives on challenges and sees failures as a chance for growth.  It encourages students to persevere and not give up!