Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Love of reading

Somewhere in the excitement, frustration and enthusiasm of starting up my class of 1-1 iPads, I have forgotten something which is fundamental to children's success and enjoyment of reading.

I have forgotten to be an enthusiastic reader myself.

I used to read often and widely, however life has taken over that time for me and I very rarely sit down to read a book for enjoyment. While I may not be able to grab that time back at this stage of my life for my own personal enjoyment of reading, I need to continue to explicitly model this to my students.

My inquiry has edged away from what my iPads offer me, and it has focused back on what I do as a teacher. Here are my current foci:

Read to my students, at least once a day. Read quality picture books that extend vocabulary, engage the students, and take them on a journey.

Encourage my students to read silently or in a quiet whisper voice from Level 15 and above. Allow them to read at their own pace without always having to wait for others. Instigate discussions around the book where learning is extended beyond that one story.

Foster a love of books, reading, writing, and listening.

Already, my students read to big buddies once a week. They come in to the class in the morning and read to one another. We read in small, guided reading groups almost every day, and share big books or picture books with the class.

Reading should not be a chore - it should be passtime which gives us pleasure and furthers our thoughts, interests and ideas of the world.

Monday, 3 August 2015

My teaching has been changing and evolving during the year. It has been influenced by the professional development we have received as a staff. However the biggest influence has been the children in my class.

Helen Timperley reminds us that when we make pedagogical change, we must make sure that the changes are based on evidence. We must look at the factors that make a difference in acquisition of learning, and the shift in progress of the child. We can get caught up in new ways of teaching and assume that they are making a difference when in fact sometimes they are not.

I have come from an Year 4 extension class who were independent and motivated. They worked confidently with GAFE to learn, create and share. This year my class of Year 2 students have some high learning and behavioural needs. My expectations for them have consequently been very high, but this has at times caused tension between what I expect of them and what they are reasonably able to produce. 

In many ways, these students have taken like ducks to water with the introduction of iPads. However many activities that I have diligently created to extend their learning and help achieve accelerated progress have been too difficult for an independent task.

I have found a tension not only with my expectations of the children, but a tension between the desire and need to give the children activities that are highly cognitively engaging and the absolute necessity to have some quiet time to teach my groups. 

Consequently, I have been spending a lot more time teaching with the Explain Everything activities. This has changed the way I teach as I am spending more quality time on the follow up activities. This has become part of my micro teaching programme.