Archive of ‘Improving Student Learning’ category

Literacy Block

Successful elements of Literacy Block this term:

  • Class novel which links with the focus area
  • Comprehension strategies modelled through the use of the class novel, e.g. visualisation, think aloud, questions, predictions, etc.
  • Finding examples of the focus in students individual texts e.g. dialogue – explore the punctuation patterns, similes, metaphors
  • Students practising the comprehension strategies during independent reading – showing proof via post it notes, records, blog entries, goal setting and review.
  • Applying author’s craft to their own work – using dialogue – characters from the class novel (Shadow Puppets), then applying this technique to their own story writing
  • Using multi-media elements to communicate their story
  • Reading the great student written stories aloud to the class

Expand next year by including:

  • Guided Reading – as per last term, but limit to three in each group to ensure engagement.
  • Regular partner reading sessions, focusing on the reading comprehension strategies
  • Build in CAFE approach by involving students in regular goal setting – Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expand Vocabulary
  • Develop fluency further by adding recording of students reading aloud on their blog – Audioboo, Audacity, Educreations, Show Me
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High Support High Challenge


Last Friday I attended the Literacy Leader’s Conference at EDC. One of the speakers was Jenny Hammond from the University of Technology, Sydney. I found her presentation interesting, inspiring and relevant to our school. She has written a research paper in the most recent ALEA Journal (Vol 35, No 2, 2012) Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, on the same topic.

Her presentation focused on findings from her research exploring language learning of EALD (English as and Additional Language or Dialect) students within the Science curriculum. Although she focused on Year 6 and 7 students you could see the relevance for all levels.

Her main message was to provide a High Challenge/ High Support environment.

The article in this month’s ALEA journal was referred, and I have just finished reading it.

Hope and Challenge in The Australian Curriculum: Implications for EAL Students and their teachers
Jennifer Hammond, University of Technology, Sydney

Some key points made:
* English area specifies the content in terms of language, but other curriculum areas don’t
* the ‘how’ isn’t specified in the Australian Curriculum (our department makes this pretty clear through the TfEL model though)
* curriculum hasn’t been watered down for EALD students, or those with learning disabilities, although differentiation expected
* demands of the new curriculum are high
* high levels of differentiated support expected for EALD students in particular to be successful
* thorough knowledge of the area needed by the teacher to be able to deliver
* EALD students need support to develop language in all curriculum areas not just English, so the specific and technical language of other curriculum areas needs to be explicitly taught, exposed through a wide variety of methods – oral, visual, encouraged conversations, reference material around the room written, pictorial, etc. (This is an aspect I would like to focus on.)
* importance of Vygotsky’s model of Zone of Proximal Development used to scaffold learning
* Language demands of various text types explored and made explicit, as well as the structure and function

Things to do:
* Plan carefully, having a clear picture of the language demands of the topic.
* Use scaffolding, building to independence
* Have a reference point in the classroom
* Criteria for success includes use of technical language

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Global Ed Conference

Over the past two evenings I have taken part in two Global Ed 2012 Conference sessions. The first, run by a teacher in country Victoria, showed me what students can do by running their own Blackboard Collaborate sessions.
The second tonight, run by a teacher in Western Australia, showed the possibilities in terms of projects that teachers and students can connect with, and the many benefits.

I am amazed at the possibilities and would like to trial some of these new ways of working with students. I have begun to see the benefits of Edmodo, and Twitter, and would like to explore Sykpe further.


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PD – Pupil Free Day


  • People appreciated the opportunity to work together in like year level groups.
  • Constructive outcomes in terms of planning – literacy and numeracy
  • Data Management system well received and teachers entered their data ( a few hiccups that will need to be sorted out)
  • Generally positive outcomes fromĀ  programs and students learning
  • Consistent feedback about opportunities to work together – admin meeting every second week, year level, curriculum area, whole school focus rotated on a 3 week cycle.
  • More people wanting to share and combine resource data bank – ideas for units of work (related to particular texts, maths concepts etc.)
  • Blog resources


Areas to improve

I felt my presentation was a bombardment of information without clear direction for staff. Next time be focused and resource that area so that participants are set up to succeed. Don’t give too much scope.

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