Learning Support

Lindamood-Bell Training Course

Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a professional development workshop about reading and comprehension in Sydney, Australia.

The intensive four days were spent exploring the Lindamood–Bell approach with a variety of special needs teachers, parents and speech-language pathologists attending. The approach is especially useful for children with dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorders and other specific learning challenges. This American based programme has centres around the world including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Australia and New Zealand.

The centres specialise in the assessment and the intensive daily tuition for Primary and Secondary aged children. This usually lasts a number of weeks for students with the approach focussing on phoneme awareness (sounds of letters/groups of letters), symbol imagery and concept imagery.

I found the imagery part of this course particularly interesting as this is especially important when we begin to use higher order thinking skills in Secondary school.

Attached is a link to their website if you wish to know more. Please also feel free to contact me if you would like any further information.

http://lindamoodbell.com/our-approach (Michael Ham / CCS Newsletter Vol.93 May 31st, 2017)

Learning Support

After school English classes for Indonesian staff

CCS has a large and diverse Indonesian staff population. All of these staff members bring a range of spoken and written languages to our community and enrich its culture. As an International school, our main language of instruction is English and the majority of our families also speak English. To support our Indonesian staff to interact with teachers, students’ families and the wider community more effectively, the school organises after-school English language classes which are taught by expat teachers. This programme aims to improve the general reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of our Indonesian staff. The advanced group is working towards setting their IGCSE English as a Second Language exam in May. This year, we have over 50 staff members attending the weekly after school classes which are split into four ability groups. Our teachers include me, Kellie Savage, Rowena McCracken and Mich Cotton. A big thank you to these teachers and our Indonesian staff who are dedicated to improving their English language skills. In addition to these class, we also have after school classes for expat teachers who want to improve their Indonesian Bahasa. These are also fun and help our whole community work and communicate better with each other. (Michael Ham / CCS Newsletter Vol.85 April 23rd, 2017)

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Learning Support

Resources in the CCS Library

See these and other great books which can be borrowed by students, teachers and parents. (Michael Ham / CCS Newsletter Vol.85 April 23rd, 2017)

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Learning Support

Keeping vocabulary notebooks: your own personal dictionary.

Making your own personal dictionary is an essential learning strategy for language learners. Research shows that most of us need to encounter a new word twenty times before it enters our long-term memory so this suggests we should record an important word in many different ways in order to learn it. Keeping words alphabetically can mean easy access. Also suggested by most language experts, is to keep words in lexical groups or context groups, since we need as many links as possible to trigger our memories. These groups can be personalised according to the logic of the creator of the vocabulary book. For example, Secondary students can create a group for each of their subjects, a group for their activities after school, a group for their favourite movie or book. For the learner, being proactive is the only way to acquire a new language, and making a personalised vocabulary record is the first step. Primary students can create their own books, in their own style, with pictures for visual learning, and sounds, if the book has a digital element. The ‘book’ can include word web pages to reinforce visual learning and to make one new word multiply through ‘word families’. Students can also create their own interactive vocabulary pages on Quizlet or other quiz sites. The third piece of advice here is to record the new word. Making word cards to carry around as an extension of your notebook might be the best way to get out and practise those new phrases with people since that’s what it’s all about! (Rowena McCracken / CCS Newsletter Vol.77 January 26th, 2017)

Here are some tips from the British Council on keeping vocabulary notebooks [LINK | CLICK HERE]

Learning Support

Visual Schedules

A visual schedule is valuable tool and resource that is often used in classrooms at school. They can be useful at home also and feature images, simple words/sentences, symbols and photos to communicate a task/job or activity better. These schedules provide structure and predictability and help children to organise and prioritise their actions or tasks. By following clear pictures and descriptions, a child can recognise the order and importance of daily activities and often gain a sense of satisfaction when completed. (Ms. Yanti / CCS Newsletter Vol.72 November 24th, 2016)

Here is a link to an article about why visual schedule is useful: http://www.theoatc.org/resources/documents/visualschedules.pdf 

Learning Support

The Importance of Mother Tongue

See this week’s article is from Frankfurt International school. It discusses the importance of students maintaining and developing their proficiency in their mother tongue or first/home language. Also attached is another summary by our Secondary English Curriculum leader, Tamar Bottema which was shared in a previous school newsletter. (Michael Ham /CCS Newsletter Vol.70 November 10th, 2016)

Learning Support

Handwriting and Fine Motor Skills

As children get older, gross motor skills (big movements) and fine motor skills (small movements) develop. Fine motor skills involve using the small muscles of the hand and are necessary for performing many tasks in life, such as writing and drawing. Handwriting uses a surprising number of muscles. Strength and agility of the hands and fingers allow a child to manipulate, coordinate and have the correct muscle tone for activities such as handwriting and using scissors. These fine motor skills help a child to manipulate a pencil in order to form letter shapes and number shapes. One of the many activities younger students use on iPads is iTrace. This application contains not only educational benefits but also an entertaining experience for the student. (Kellie Savage / CCS Newsletter Vol.69 November 3rd, 2016).

If you would like to try it out at home, see the links below

Free version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itrace-free-handwriting-for/id645416621?mt=8

Full version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itrace-handwriting-for-kids/id583678381?mt=8

Counsellor Corner

Children and Stress

Children, like adults, experience stress. Adults can sometimes be unaware when their children or teens are experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress. Tuning into emotional or behavioral cues is important in identifying potential problems and working with your child to provide guidance and support to successfully work through difficult times. Here are some tips on ways to recognise possible signs of stress.

Youth of all ages, but especially younger children, may find it difficult to understand and verbalise when they are experiencing stress. For children especially, stress can manifest through changes in behaviour. Those changes can include acting irritable or moody, withdrawing from activities which they ordinarily enjoy, expressing worries, complaining more than usual about school, crying, clinging to a parent or teacher, sleeping too much or too little, stomach aches or headaches, or eating too much or too little.

For teens, while spending more time with and confiding in peers is a normal part of growing up, notably avoiding parents, leaving long-time friendships for a new group of peers or expressing hostility towards family members, may indicate that the teen is experiencing significant stress. While negative behaviour is not always linked to excessive stress, negative changes in behaviour are almost always a clear indication that something is wrong. Adults should pay attention to these behaviours and determine an appropriate response or intervention.

Because children are often not familiar with the word “stress” and its meaning, they may express feelings of stress through other words, such as “worried,” “confused,” “annoyed” and “angry.” Children and teens may also express feelings of stress by saying negative things about themselves, others, or the world around them (e.g. “No one likes me,” “I’m stupid,” “Nothing is fun”). It is important for parents to listen to these words and sentiments and try to figure out why your child or teen is saying them and whether they have a deeper significance.

Seek support

Parents, children and teens do not need to tackle overwhelming stress on their own. If a parent is concerned that his or her child or teen is experiencing considerable symptoms of stress on a regular basis; begin by talking with your child, if you feel it might be helpful please email me, our school’s counsellor for further support. I can also provide referrals for greater support for your child and your family. (Samantha Brossette / CCS Newsletter Vol.68 October 27th, 2016).

Learning Support Team

Weekly Newsletter contribution

Dear families

From this week onwards the CCS Newsletter will have a combination of articles, website links and references from the Learning Support Team that you may find interesting and informative.
We are a busy team and focus on providing additional assistance for those students who have been identified as needing SEN (Special Educational Needs) and/or EAL (English as an Additional Language) support. Practically, this means a range of withdrawal or in-class support based on a student’s need. Our team comprises of Samantha Brossette (Counsellor), Kellie Savage (Primary EAL/SEN), Sri Suyanti (Primary SEN), Rowena McCracken (ELS Secondary) and myself, Michael Ham (Team Leader – SEN/EAL Primary/Secondary). This week I have attached a link to a very good website I often use. You can subscribe free and get regular emails from them, with a focus on learning and attention issues. The link this week is about Assistive technology for children with Dyslexia. 
Here you can see photos of our new Secondary School working spaces located on the far side of the Library
Many thanks
(The Learning Support Team / CCS Newsletter Vol.67 October 20th, 2016).