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Integrated Literacy: The Workshop Method improved… using Whole-Part-Whole structure.

I’ve been working this year with Steve Peha author of Be a Better Writer. I’ve actually used Steve’s material for many years and knew his book would be an outstanding resource for students and teachers. We’ve been looking at ways to structure curriculum and I can see enormous merit in Steve’s Integrated Literacy as a starting point for conversation about best practice.

The term community of learners is a meaningful descriptor for any group of students.

There is concern among educators that the teaching of literacy has moved away from an holistic approach to a segmented  approach e.g. one hour reading & one hour writing, without highlighting the conceptual links between reading, writing and oral language.

Integrated Literacy is a framework for K-12 instruction that leverages the complementary nature of reading and writing to make learning easier for kids and teaching better for teachers. Steve Peha

Integrated Literacy

Steve explains how Writer’s Workshop and Reader’s Workshop fit well into an integrated literacy approach. Our programs need to provide explicit teaching but there are many approaches to workshops to achieve this.

Workshops clearly have to meet students where they are at, often referred as ‘point of need’. Once assessment has been completed, workshops can be structured using a variety of teaching approaches depending on where a student or group of students are at e.g. modelled, shared, directed, suggested and facilitated.

Workshops

Steve’s article explains the elements of a workshop e.g. Lesson, Status, Work, Conferencing and Sharing (Reflection). Read further and Steve explains the different ways to workshop.

The workshop approach requires a detailed curriculum planning guide covering all aspects of writing and reading using our curriculum, the IB-PYP and Inquiry. The planning guide needs to cover the study of genres, strategies and punctuation.

Steve’s book covers: Better Topics, Better Ideas, Better Organisation, Better Voice, Better Words, Better Sentences, Better Punctuation and Better Fiction.  

This approach does not mean students are unable to explore writing and reading themselves, however, it is about ensuring explicit instruction is in the mix. I want students to see the interconnectedness of reading, writing and speaking.

Read like a Writer… Write like a Reader…Read as a Writer…Write as a Reader.

Steve and I are working on a curriculum framework based on the Australian Curriculum incorporating inquiry with links to material which supports explicit teaching within an holistic approach. This may take some time…

Cheers Nina

 

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Yesterday something clicked…The power of modelling!

Yesterday, I was working with children on fraction tasks. They had problems to solve and had to display their understanding in a slide show. They took photos of their work and used many resources, concrete and written to demonstrate their thinking.

Out came the misconceptions which we were able to discuss. Some students said they already knew the answers.  The teacher working with me in the class explained that modelling had two purposes.

They could use modelling to solve a problem or use modelling to demonstrate how they knew the answer to a problem.

As teachers, we know that modelling is important to solve problems, but yesterday highlighted that modelling is crucial to demonstrate something you already know. This combined with sharing their models and modelling their thinking to another student was powerful learning.

Cheers Nina

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My Facebook Education Group Recommendations: Australia Writes (with Steve Peha) and Building Better Writers with Angela Stockman.

I’ve been using Steve Peha’s resources for many years and am delighted to be an administrator with Steve of a Facebook group: Australia Writes (with Steve Peha). 

We now have 419 teacher members with the group growing daily. Steve is putting together resources for the group and  Steve, Miss Margot and I are here to help too.

An opportunity! Steve will skype sessions with students and teacher groups and is already doing this in Australian schools!

I’m also a member of another amazing Facebook group which I’m loving…

Building Better Writers with Angela Stockman. 

Cheers Nina

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Learning to See, Unlearning to Judge – Instructional Rounds: The ‘By-Product’ and ‘Inner-Think’!

This post has had many reads recently.

Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

Today was my last day as a member of an Instructional Rounds Pilot group. It’s been a great experience and has given me an enormous amount to reflect upon in terms of my own practice. I have been very fortunate to be involved in this pilot, and as a classroom teacher, it’s the by-product of Rounds that has made me have aninner-think’into my own practice.

To read more about Instructional Rounds please visit and join http://instructionalroundsineducation.ning.com/ 

Instructional Rounds follows a strict set of protocols. Look down, not up! It is about the practice not the teacher.

Identification of a ‘Problem of Practice’ by a school.

The term ‘Problem’ explained – not negative

The term:’ Problem’ – refers to a scientific problem to observe

 ‘Problem’ is a neutral term.

The Problem of Practice – must:

Focuses on the Instructional Core (student- teacher – content: Interaction)

Be…

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Successful people have certain behaviours: The IB Learner profile and its conection to the traits of a successful people. Year 1 and 2 students explore and respond!

This post is read a lot…

Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

Recently I was introduced to the traits of successful people compared to the traits of unsuccessful people. Having reviewed the traits myself, I decided to introduce this document to my students. My students are in Year 1 and 2 in Australia and very capable of looking at and discussing this document. My school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. The IB introduces students to the Learner Profile so my students already have an understanding of what being a successful learner and person encompasses. We are now unpacking the successful traits and connecting them to the IB Learner Profile and attitudes.

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Link: http://www.workingmomsonly.com/2011/07/25/eliminate-the-jealousy-factor-and-success-will-follow/

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My students discussed the traits and were given one trait to respond to and make connections to their life.

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This is what I call thinker’s writing. The learners aren’t using a set genre and have to structure their own response. Many made connections to their own life. These…

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Simply talking about compassion is not enough: An article worth reading!

A new study from Harvard University reveals that the message parents mean to send children about the value of empathy is being drowned out by the message we actually send: that we value achievement and happiness above all else.

What message are we giving as educators?

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/most-kids-believe-that-achievement-trumps-empathy/373378/

Cheers Nina

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When a school has and owns its culture…

There is so much written about schools and culture, but do schools really develop and nurture the culture they vocally support?

I’ve just finished teaching at a school which has and owns its learning culture.

The culture is driven, valued and student centred. This school knows who they are and their purpose. Yes, it’s an IB school, but not all IB schools have moved this far on their journey. It takes special courage to hand over a large amount of responsibility to students and it does not happen overnight either.

What makes me say that?

The students at this school are inquirers. They inquire across the curriculum with opportunities to inquire in all learning experiences. Inquiry is not a timetabled event three times a week, it is embedded deeply into the ethos of the school and its curriculum delivery.

This doesn’t mean that the curriculum isn’t planned, in fact it’s the opposite. The curriculum and documentation is highly developed.

What I know

We need to look further than students standing patiently in lines. We need to look at what’s happening in the classroom and programs in our schools. This school really does enable students to learn from their successes and mistakes. Both are valued as learning experiences.

Below is a student reflection. This student was new to the school this year and his reflection has a powerful message!

At …….. you can work where you’re at and not feel bad. If you are struggling you can still have fun and learn. I didn’t want to go to school last year and now I really want to. You are not as controlled and can choose and I choose to make good choices.

 Cheers Nina

 

 

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