Our Small World Tokelau

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Making connections across our schools to share strategies that work

Part of the struggle that my students have is engaging in the texts that they are reading.  Too often what we give them to read is irrelevant or too hard or boring (a comment made by a year 9 student in my class just last week).  I was frustrated in trying to think of ways to address this issue and although we have a wealth of strategies that could use, I wasn't sure where to start or which strategies would work.  Then I read a blogpost by Robyn Anderson at Panmure Bridge, one of the primary schools in our Manaiakalani cluster and enjoyed reading about the learning that was happening in her classroom.

In her blog, Robyn shared a lesson that worked with her class who were looking at a text and trying to figure out the author's message.  She shared how surprised she was when students used strategies and scaffolds that they'd learnt before to breakdown the text and transfer this skill across to a text without even being told to.

Robyn's blogpost resonated with me.  How awesome would it be that when students are faced with a task, they search in their toolkit of knowledge to choose a strategy that they think would suit the task.  And they do it collaboratively.  And without being told!

I really wanted to know more!  I met with Robyn and she shared the frameworks and guided teaching and learnings that she used with her class. They were simple, clear and collaborative.  Two of the ideas that Robyn shared were based on Aaron Wilson's 'Five ideas for helping students develop a basic understanding of the text' which were used to help students engage with a text.

Robyn has invited me to see this learning in action which I can't wait to see. Now that I have heard first hand how an experienced teacher had implemented guided reading strategies in her programme and the way students were able to use them to guide their learning, I am hopeful that I can develop some of these strategies in our junior school, in an effort to engage our students more when it comes to reading.