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Patrick Pink's blogs

  • dellEnglish10

    In my weekly search around the various on-line education sites, I came across this post called Cracking a Secret Code to Learning: Hand Gestures from Mind/Shift.  It discussed the importance of gestures to assist teaching and learning.   In the post by Annie Murphy Paul, she says, 'The thoughts expressed by hand motions are often our newest and most advanced ideas about the problem we’re working on; we can’t yet assimilate these notions into language, but we can capture them in movement.'  

    As a person who has worked alongside Deaf teachers and learners and as a person who has a passion for Universal Design for Learning and the belief of providing multiple ways of representation, expression and engagement for learners, I was intrigued. So I did some more searching and found some more examples of using hand gestures to aid learning.  

    On the Teaching Channel, I found a video clip titled:  Hand Gestures:  Movements make math memorable. In this clip, children in a classroom in Great Britain use hand gestures to engage in maths and to assist in the retention and application of maths concepts.  It also allowed for the opportunity to foster confidence and to make thinking more visible.  Included on the site are links to an article and research report from the University of Chicago to support this idea.

     In the following clip, a three-year old girl named Isabella recites a poem, Sweet Dreams, by Joyce Armours.  Again the use of hand gestures assists Isabella in remembering the verses as well as gives the viewer visual cues to the words of the poem.   

    I would be interested in other teachers who have noticed that using gestures as a tool has helped kids' engagement, representation ans expression.  

    Food for thought!

  • Pink Shirt Day is a national campaign aimed to raise awareness about the power to prevent bullying. Pink Shirt Day aims to reduce bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting the development of positive social relationships. An annual event celebrated throughout New Zealand and the world, Pink Shirt Day helps to create a New Zealand where all people feel safe, valued and respected.

    The event began in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2007, when a group of students stood up to defend a young person who was bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. The students took a stand by all wearing pink shirts to show solidarity, and handing out pink shirts to their classmates.

    New Zealand has been celebrating Pink Shirt Day since 2009, and the event grows stronger every year. This year, a range or people and organisations have come together to help organize and celebrate Pink Shirt Day.

    Another great site is pinkshirtday

  • Inclusive Education:  Support for Implementation in Alberta, Canada has provided a variety of PD resources that include video clips, tip sheets and learning guides when working with school and community leaders around the topic of inclusive education.  The narratives, stories and conversations of administrators and teachers as they continue to journey towards education that includes all students are shared in the six videos, tip sheets and learning guides.  The tip sheets are one page information sheet with the key points from the video.  The learning guides help to 'continue the conversation' after viewing the videos and can promote further discussions, sharing and stories.  

    The six videos include topics such as 'What is Inclusion?', 'Creating Inclusive Environments', 'Essential Supports', 'Collaborative Partnerships', 'Innovative Solutions' and 'Sharing the Vision'.   

    School Leadership and Inclusion resources can be used with school teams to foster discussion, to promote thinking and reflecting points as well as demonstrate a school's continued journey towards education that is engaging and relevant for all, that challenges everyone and that begins to remove barriers by 'knowing your student'.  

  • The University of Vermont in the United States of America has created this page on Universal Design for Learning when working with students who experience deafness or some level of hearing loss.  It gives some good general information to consider when we are working with young people who are Deaf in schools and classrooms.  The website, of course, takes a university slant as well as having American links; however the discussions about barriers and practical suggestions are still useful and can spark ideas.  I particularly found useful the notion that 'one size does not fit all'.  Our young people who experience deafness and hearing loss are diverse and it requires us as teachers to actively know our students and then find a way to do things differently so that the school, classroom and the learning experiences are relevant and allow opportunities for engagement, success and connection.

  • IEPOnline is a Ministry of Education resource that provides information on creating, collaborating and sharing when developing a young person's Individual Education Plan (IEP).  The following link IEP stories highlights young people who have experienced input when creating and sharing their IEP goals and objectives.  It also showcases parents relating their stories abou the IEP process as well.

  • This is an article written by Sean Sweeney in the ASHA Leader, an online resource that serves the community involved with young people who experience speech, language and hearing challenges.  ASHA stands for the American Speech Language Hearing Association.  Sean Sweeney is a Speech Language Pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions.

    The article gives some app ideas around language and assisting socialisation with young people who experience Autism Spectrum Condition.  

    App-titude:  Apps for High Schoolers with Autism

  • In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, the following links provide information on Autism Spectrum Condition and the principles of Universal Design for Learning.  The first link is a chapter from 

    Dagmara Woronko and Isabel Killoran (2011). Creating Inclusive Environments for Children with Autism,
    Autism Spectrum Disorders - From Genes to Environment, Prof. Tim Williams (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-558-7
    The chapter gives comprehensive evidence around building and creating inclusive environments for our learners who experience Autism Spectrum Condition and how we can apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning to provide opportunities for access, success and connection.  

    The second link is a website called Autism Plugged In.  It contains blogs and reviews around various apps for our learners with Austism Spectrum Condition.