It has been a long time since I have posted on this blog, but I thought the time was right to relaunch and share my insights, thoughts, classroom ideas and experiences with literacy education.
I am currently teaching grade four and I thoroughly enjoy every day with my fantastic students. Being at a different school this year has been very refreshing and it has allowed me to learn with and work alongside a new group of teachers and students.
I plan to post on a variety of literacy topics, but there are six main areas I focus on in my classroom. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on these key elements in the coming months.
My Literacy Education Program – The Big Six
I have been using the CAFE approach for the past five years and I love the way it focuses on the explicit teaching of specific reading strategies. I particularly enjoy the way that CAFE allows students to see what strategies are important for successful reading and they are continuously improving their comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary through focussed independent reading.
2. Writer’s Notebook
My school has worked with a literacy coach this year to implement Writer’s Notebook into our literacy program. Students have enjoyed writing entries and the greater freedom of writing what students are interested in has been very beneficial. Integrating the Six Traits of Writing into the Writer’s Notebook approach has made our writing program very comprehensive.
3. Using mentor texts
Using mentor texts to model quality writing has been a feature of my reading and writing lessons this year. As a school, we are using the Six Traits of Writing and I regularly model the traits using excellent picture story books. We have rich discussions on the author’s purpose, the meaning behind the text, the writing craft and the role the illustrations play. Mentor texts have assisted students improve their skills in both reading and writing.
The introduction of 1:1 iPads for grade four students has been really successful. Integrating technology into literacy is something I love to do. I enjoy thinking of creative ways for students to benefit from technology during our reading and writing lessons.
5. Class Blog
I have been blogging with students for about five years. There are so many benefits to having a class blog, and I use the blog in my literacy block every day. Blogging is all about literacy – students read posts and write comments to reflect and have “commenting conversations” with others. I would be lost without my class blog!
6. Words Their Way
I have been familiar with the Words Their Way approach but this is the first year I have fully implemented it with my students. Grouping students into like needs “word study” groups (as opposed to spelling groups) allows for a high level of differentiation. I also like how Words Their Way promotes vocabulary growth and generates rich discussions.