Blog

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Why Explicit Teaching is Student Centred

Ever hear someone say that they prefer a ‘student centred’ approach over explicit instruction? I have and I have to say that it left me shaking my head. You see, I think that structured, explicit reading instruction IS student centred. Here’s why.

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Teaching Success Framework

Knowledge is Critical, but Don’t Forget Skills

We all know that teacher knowledge is way more important than just having a program in our classrooms. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing can be the difference between highly effective practice and random acts of improvement that don’t lead to great results.
In considering how to create sustained, effective practice, I have developed the Teaching Success Framework. There are 8 parts of the framework…

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The Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

As a teacher and school leader, I’ve had loads of advice from others throughout the years. Some of it has been helpful. Some of it has been downright diabolical and some of it invaluable. In today’s post, I’d like to share five of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in working towards school level change.

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TET_Shared Vision

How Shared Vision Contributes to Collective Impact

Shared vision can be the difference between strategic, effective practice that results in growth for all students and a series of random acts of improvement that keep people busy but don’t really go anywhere. Without shared vision, each person is doing their own thing and running their own race. They are left alone to struggle through their problems of practice, deal with their own worries and recreate the wheel each and every time they want to teach something. This is a lonely and, very often, …

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Making the Switch from Guided Reading to a Structured Approach

So many teachers have guided reading as the foundation of their reading instruction approach. With a growing understanding of structured literacy, many of us have seen that it’s time for a change. When making the switch from traditional guided reading, there are two components to consider. 

The first thing to think about is the ‘what’.
Traditional Guided reading involved: 

  • Assessing students using benchmark assessment
  • Grouping them based on this assessment 
  • Teaching lessons using levelled t…

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Keeping Planning Simple

Keeping Planning Simple

Planning is one of the necessary, time sucking things that we do as teachers.  I’m actually one of those nerdy people who like planning and curriculum design.  It really floats my boat!  BUT, what I don’t like is spending more hours planning and preparing than I spend teaching.  I would much rather have easy ways to plan and prepare that leave me free to spend time on the fun stuff (like writing text based units using mentor texts) or watching Netflix.  As a Teaching Pri…

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Instruction to Reduce the Need for Small Groups

It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of group rotations. The minute you divide up your students and put them into groups, you cut down the time students can experience fully guided instruction. However, I am aware that some students with additional needs do much better in small groups for various reasons. There are simply times when the range in our classes and lack of adult support means that small groups are the only option available to you.

But a wide range or doing it on your own doesn’t me…

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6 Potential Roadblocks to Early Reading Results

So, you’ve adopted a structured approach to phonics but aren’t seeing the growth you had hoped for?  This lack of growth could be evident in some, most or all students and leave you scratching your head, wondering what went wrong?  This week, I’d like to point you in the direction of a few things that might need tightening to get those results you are looking for. 

Reason #1 – Student focus is not what it could be

Our early years students are little people.  Their ability to pay attention ofte…

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Comprehension Strategies - Still a Thing?

I recently wrote a post about my impressions of the English component of Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum. You can find that post here.  There is much to be celebrated in the update including the removal of references to predictable texts and 3 cueing strategies.  In reading through the content descriptors, however, I was a little disappointed to see that comprehension strategies,

“such as visualising, predicting, connecting, summarising and questioning to understand and discuss texts list…

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Structured Literacy: a Solution to Teacher Overwhelm

There has been a lot of talk in the media in recent weeks about the difficulties experienced by the teaching profession. The television show, 60 Minutes presented a story about teacher workload and teacher shortages. A former teacher recently spoke on stage about how “…Teachers’ hearts are broken” by the work we are asked to do, and we have seen industrial action on the news. I don’t, for one minute, want to imply that there are no issues that need attention in education. What I do want to do in…

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