Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spreading the Word

Ran a workshop at our itpd cluster conference on the first Saturday of the holidays along with the 2 other teachers from school who have been working with Literacy Circles. Was really good as one teaches new entrants, I teach Year 4 and the other has Year 5 and 6. We could show how it can be adapted and used for all ages and the different ways we have been using Literacy Circles and the different ways we record our thinking. We had video, blogging, audio recording, writing etc. Was good for me in seeing how I need to organise what I want to share before the Ulearn conference. Was great having the others and the questions they were asking and seeing how they have developed thinking in their children.

Had some good feedback from the session, a couple of teachers from other schools are now having a go and one from an intermediate has taken the idea of creating a wiki and having discussions online as she could see how the children's thinking is developing.

Am running a staffmeeting in a couple of weeks at another school so have a chance to try out things there too.

Am being asked again and again if this is like Reciprocal Reading. I have never used that so am reading up on it. Can see some similarities, but my gut is saying the Literacy Circles go further. Maybe someone else out there can help me become clearer about the similarities and differences.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Connections to Learning

We have continued using the Literacy Circles package which has focussed on the 4 key roles. We are having more natural conversations when we have face to face conversations so feel we are moving more towards what Literacy Circles are really about. Our latest story is Kids Alone in a Cyclone which has been really interesting. Lots of elements within the story that the children could relate to (after school care, walking home, stormy weather...) and also lots of avenues for further exploration. Some great conversations about stranger danger and we are having a good debate on our wiki about what they would do in the same situation.

We have been spending some time talking about Literacy Circles in general and the children are seeing lots of value for them with other learning. We had the summariser connection previously with how this would help them to pick out main points and put into their own words, they are seeing value with the illustrator role as it is helping them to picture a scene and focus on detail (yeah!) and the word detective is a role they are feeling really secure with now. They are prepared to have a go at working out what a word means and then feel able to check using the context of the story (double yeah!!).

The children have also been discussing what sort of books they would choose to read. They trust my selections (have found the stories  really interesting and can't wait for the next one) but some are ready now to go it alone. Again we have headed towards the true spirit of Literacy Circles. I am going to have the next story for them but let some choose own story. Might encourage others. 

We have also got some different roles that we have discussed and so need to move from the packaged to trying out some of them. Really loving it all still. Was so pleased in the holidays that some of the children returned to an earlier discussion and added some thoughts. They have really shown they have ownership of the discussions.