Thursday, 8 September 2011

EITC - for the teacher!

Today I visited another school with the focus of looking at their literacy programme. And what an enlightening morning! It's always great to see what others are doing. First, because there is always the chance to learn, improve and try new things (sharing! what a wonderful concept) and secondly, because it helps you to realise that there are areas that you are doing ok in!

Reading: This school streamed for reading and I observed two classes; "the lowbies" and "a bit higher." 

The lowbies: the purpose of the reading programme in this room was to encourage stimulating material to interest and encourage reading. The children were in a 'social' group and a reading group (as I do now, except my purpose is based around behaviour). The social group followed rotations such as browsing boxes, listening post, free choice, grammar activities (word finds, cross words etc - books of them that you can pick up at reasonable prices),, and blogging. The teacher pulled out reading groups as required. The structure of what I saw in this class was similar to what I plan for my own class.
The class environment was more stimulating for reading, and this is probably what I need to set up better. The interactive whiteboard displayed Sheena Cameron's "What do good readers do?" the whole time. I didn't see it referred to by the teacher, but there was also a copy printed on the wall by the task board and I understand the children refer to it independently. The wall was also set up with all the strategies and prompt cards that the children could take and use at their desks independently. A strategy card (one only - WALT) was placed on the teaching table in front of each child as well for the child to refer to.

A bit higher: these students can cope with a bit more writing so had lots of text based activities on the go. Rotations included wordfind, picture story, writing short story from photo, blogging, browsing boxes, story pyramid, retell, free reading, spelling words and sentences, new vocab, - word magic (with vocab words) and specific activities relating to group reading. Groups were included in the taskboard to see the teacher. Guided reading sessions included some time to share what they had been doing etc. One group had been writing stories relating to what they had read so for their teacher time they had to talk about what they had written and then as a group they discussed vocab etc.

Where to for me?
I think because of the behaviour and learning needs in my class I need to keep my rotations as reading based and pretty basic. However, for my higher end groups I need to start giving them extra activities that relate to their reading - especially vocabulary based activities. I also think that one of my rotations needs to be grammar based activities - so I need to get my hands on some 'activity books.'

Writing: A year 4 class
Lesson started with recap of yesterdays WALT and then books were handed out so children could look and reflect upon what they had achieved.
Todays focus: Dictionary Skills and Proofreading
Lots of great use using the Interactive Whiteboard and Active Inspire.
- Alphabetical Order
- Spelling Corrections
- Child's sample of work, get it started with editing

"Proofreading is all about doing your writing slowly."

Where to next?
Don't expect the children to write everyday!!! Take time to teach editing and give the children time to work through it with some guidance. Also, set up writing buddies to critically analyse. This will take time to set up guidelines and expectations so the children are giving worthwhile feedback and feedforward.

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