Podcast and Blog
The Value of a Longer Text-Based Unit
If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll know that I LOVE a good text-based unit. Using quality picture books, novels or informational text to teach English is enjoyable for both students and teachers alike. This idea has been embraced by many teachers, which is wonderful. However, I’d like to talk today about the value of a unit of work that goes for a little longer than a week.
Using a different book each week feels neat and tidy. We can write the title of the text in our planners and keep …
How Not to Overcomplicate Your Text Based Units
Using mentor texts to teach writing and the ‘top of the rope’ concepts of reading can be a highly effective method of instruction. Mentor texts provide context and modelling for vocabulary, syntax, parts of speech, text structure and language features. The challenge with using mentor texts is that it’s really easy to overcomplicate our units. Even if we create targeted units that walk our students step by step through the skills and knowledge we want to teach, it’s not always easy to align the c…
Engaging Reluctant Writers
Every classroom has students who hate writing and will avoid it at all costs. They might groan and moan when you say the word ‘writing’ or ask to go to the toilet the minute you need them to sit at their desk. When they do sit down, they take 500 years to write the date and then poke the person next to them or engage in some other off-task behaviour. Their antics mean that you can’t spend time supporting those who WILL engage but need some support or conference with those who are quite capable…
Teaching the ‘Top of the Rope’ with Mentor Texts
However, it is important to remember that the ‘top of the rope’ concepts also need to be taught explicitly. One of the best ways to teach this is through mentor texts. Mentor texts provide a wonderful stimulus for reading comprehension and writing instruction. You can teach many concepts through mentor texts including...…
Knowledge is Critical, but Don’t Forget Skills
In considering how to create sustained, effective practice, I have developed the Teaching Success Framework. There are 8 parts of the framework…
The Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given
How Shared Vision Contributes to Collective Impact
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…
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…