WellComm strategies for learning
Deciding which activities to follow in The Big Book of Ideas
Once you have drawn up a child’s profile, you will be able to see where their individual communication needs lie. It is important to personalise your teaching to meet these needs and to follow the activities in The Big Book of Ideas that correspond to the child’s language level. Appropriate teaching goals can be identified by looking at the strengths and weaknesses in the child’s profile. As a rule of thumb, you should select the activities in the section just above where the child achieves a Green code. This is done by looking at the section where a Green score is achieved. For example:
The play-based activities can be followed during one-to-one sessions with a child or in small groups, which could be organised according to language level. Many of the interventions relate to activities already carried out in the classroom (e.g., story time) and The Big Book of Ideas can provide additional advice on how to tailor the activities to the children’s language needs.
It is essential to involve the parent/s as much as possible, as children often behave differently in different settings. You can discuss activities and strategies with the parent/s to try at home, as well as providing written guidelines and photocopies of the activities. Find time to demonstrate and share activities so the parent/s understand how to carry out the activities and make sure you tailor the amount of material to meet the needs of yourself and the parent/s. This is very much a two-way process and it is essential that shared goals are established.
You can also use the items that the child does not achieve in the Score Sheets to signpost you to appropriate activities in The Big Book of Ideas. This helps identify specific areas of need, and by choosing the corresponding activities helps to ‘fill in the gaps.’
Compile a list of the item areas that you wish to focus your teaching on. From these, select three or four to target first. When selecting targets, you may wish to choose those that you can address through a current topic or lesson. For example, if the child needs to work on ‘long’/’short’, you may wish to build this into your numeracy planning.
Start with the items that come earliest in the Score Sheets. For example, if the child scored Amber in Section 5, look through and identify the tricky areas. This will help you ‘fill in the gaps’ with your teaching as well as selecting additional targets from the next section up. In this way, you will be ensuring that the child has a solid language foundation on which to build.
Looking at the resulting profile can also give you valuable information about the types of difficulties a child may be having.
Setting SMART targets
Make sure your targets meet the following criteria:
- Specific – for example, to understand or name a certain number of verbs.
- Measurable – define your criteria for success (e.g., four out of five times).
- Achievable – choose something that can be realistically achieved by the child.
- Relevant – make sure it fits with the language level of the group.
- Timed – decide when the target is going to be reviewed.