Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Observation Opportunity in LS2...

I work in a shared learning space with Kiri Kirkpatrick but rarely get an opportunity to formally observe her teaching practice, so when an opportunity arose I grabbed it with both hands. 'Teachers who share their love for words (logophilia) and who provide engaging opportunities to interact with words across all content on a daily basis will ignite this word learning passion in their students' (Keys to Literacy blog). This is something that most definitely happened in our learning space this week.

Kiri introduced her group to a shared text using the sophisticated picture book, 'Memorial' written by Gary Crew. Throughout the sequence of lessons Kiri introduced her learners to a wide variety of vocabulary that not only explored the content but also the layout of the text and the hidden meaning behind the images. 

Learning Through Talk cites Blachowicz et al, when defining word consciousness as being 'an awareness of words and their meanings, an awareness of the ways in which meanings change and grow, and an interest in and motivation to develop new word knowledge...'(p73). Kiri used this strategy to explore a wide variety of themes the learning was most definitely not 'dumbed down'. 

The vocabulary explored like the text was sophisticated. Each new word was unpacked through paired and whole class discussions, defined and explored in context, and linked back to something the learners could use their prior knowledge to forge a strengthened connection to. What this meant was that her learners were motivated and connected to the content. To grow and develop this new word knowledge Kiri used questioning throughout to revisit the language which ensured each word was not only seen and heard, but also used. 

The DLO below is an example of the follow up tasks that reflect the content covered.

My takeaways:
  • The teaching strategies in our shared learning space are aligned through the use of a shared language of instruction. This sets our learners up for success regardless of who the teacher is in front of them.
  • To introduce my focus students to more sophisticated vocabulary to help ignite the passion for wanting to develop new word knowledge (eg: peritext, juxtaposition)
  • To look for opportunities to use sophisticated picture books as a mentor text in writing lessons
  • When looking at language features and vocabulary in mentor texts ask questions like:  'How do/does ... add to the text?' and 'Would the story make sense without...?'

1 comment:

  1. It was great to see the kids engaging with the text. I really like using picture books as a way to get the language discussions going. Thanks for noticing my love of words and your positive feedback!