Already this term has provided some teaching challenges, and I have had to reflect on my teaching for each group as well as the class as a whole.
Our students are so blessed that they are able to receive many different forms of literacy intervention. At various times during our literacy block, I have over half of my class receiving literacy support. It is such a wonderful opportunity for them to take part in these programs/teaching sessions and nearly all of the students have shown great progress over the past term. However, as the classroom teacher, it presents some unique challenges with scheduling, lesson planning, and small group teaching sessions.
With that said, I have reworked the literacy program in my classroom. We begin everyday by orally reading a chapter in a novel. So many of our students do not read for entertainment purposes, and reading is one of my favourite things to do. Spending this 5-10 minutes a day reading to my students is so valuable for many reasons. At first, they were very reluctant to sit and listen, but today, I accidentally went to move right into our writing lesson and was stopped by a number of students reminding me to read. I use this time to model reading a novel with the kids. Before beginning each day, we review what happened the in the previous chapter, and while reading I often stop and discuss various vocabulary words, figurative language and make predictions about the events to come.
Each Monday, I have decided to begin class with a Dictogloss that show cases the writing concept for that week. So far this term, we have focused on onomatopoeia and character descriptions. This provides students with an opportunity to sound out words that they hear, take notes, work with a small group to construct the paragraph, and revise/edit punctuation and spelling errors. In just two weeks, the difference in student interaction has improved greatly. There are still a few extremely shy students who are finding it difficult to work with others but I have been shuffling their partners each week to promote different level students working together. Plus, there are a few students who are unable to do this assignment due to their own personal language/literacy constraints. I still have them listen to the reading and try to take notes. They also still listen to the conversation with a small group in order to have the oral interaction with their peers.
Students have been working this term to read and create Comics and Superheroes. I have decided that we are going to be learning a concept during our whole class writing sessions that will have a shorter follow up assignment. As a result, this term, I am working to include more writing based reading follow up tasks.
So far....so good, but it's only week 2! However, I am very excited for this new challenge, and for the opportunity it presents to present more "CREATE" opportunities with written language with my reading groups.