I first came across Fiona McGonagle on Twitter when following the hashtag for #TMDenton. After discovering that Fiona planned to do a presentation on Makaton and Talk for Writing, and being disappointed that I was unable to attend myself, I stalked Fiona on Twitter in order to find out as much as possible about this concept.
Fiona is a bunde of energy and enthusiasm (and a huge asset to her school). She very generously created a video to inspireÂ Leamore staff and also wrote the following post:
I am very pleased to share with you our schoolâ€™s journey with Makaton and how it is used in my class to support Talk for Writing. Our journey began in January 2013 when some staff members (including myself) went on some Makaton training. Since then, we could not be silenced! Soon, all members of staff went on the training and Makaton is now used throughout the school to aid communication for our more vulnerable learners.
One experience (that will forever touch my heart) is when a little girl came to my class in year 4 and I realised that she could not read. She had one-to-one support with an amazing teaching assistant and had intervention after intervention, still nothing seemed to connect. We then introduced Makaton with her and taught her some signs for key words. After that, she flourished. After a matter of weeks, she could read her first book containing 12 key words. After 6 months she had read her 7th book meaning she could read over 80 key words. Now she is in year 5 and continues to progress. That alone told me that Makaton works.
Our children love learning new signs which help them to learn internal structures of texts as well as helping them understand what the words mean to them. I have included a short video of how Makaton is used in my class and in our singing assemblies which take place weekly. I hope it will inspire you to use Makaton as much it has inspired our school!
Please visit our schools website where you can also access our class blogs! http://www.westmorlandprimary.co.uk/
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us Fiona!