- Gifting new vocab - whole class
- Small group guided play with the teacher while the other children worked on a vocabulary activity or game
- Groups swapped over
- Shared writing - patterned sentences
Additional, to these two prescribed hours, we sought to include related follow-ups in the classroom tumble and allowing access to the play equipment during choosing times. An optional homework sheet also went home each week, to let parents know the target vocabulary and to encourage them to support its use at home.
To add weight to the trial, it was to be overseen by a consultant from our local MOE office, who conducted the background research for the model and the empirical research through data collection at the start, about 6 weeks in and then 2 months following.
This was a collaborative endeavour by the three classroom teachers involved. The photos below highlight the areas in which I contributed to the collaboration.
While we had a few lesson plans to get us started, the goal was that teachers would take the initiative and ownership to plan the lessons themselves. There were 3 classes involved in this initial trial, so we worked collaboratively to plan and design lesson and materials for use.
Initially student voice was almost silent during the play times. They were more intent on doing and getting than playing and talking. It took a lot of engaging with them in the play and role playing for them to begin to talk and play amongst themselves. Therefore, we decided to keep the same theme for the week to increase there opportunity for vocal play.
In term 2, we continued with the theme of food. We brainstormed a group of lessons that would fit and each took responsibility to plan 3-4 lessons. We found that we always needed to start by listing the target vocabulary of the lesson. This helped us keep the goal of gifting new vocabulary at the forefront of our planning.
At this stage, we all confessed that we were struggling to understand and work with the Blanks Levels of Questioning. It took some time to seek clarification from our dean and from the researcher in charge.
This term, we changed topic to Creative Storytelling. We wanted to see more use of dramatic language and expression. It was stunning the first time children told/acted stories in groups of 3. The entire room was silent. Children were enthusiastically prancing around the room acting out stories, but they were absolutely silent. I had to stop the class and talk about the value of words to carry the story. I had to model how to act and talk at the same time, through either narration it dialogue. It was amazing over the term to hear the difference of noise level in the classroom. This time I rejoiced in a very loud classroom, as snatches of language filtered through, "Die, I defeat you!" and "Help, help, the wicked witch is coming after me."
In the final term, I split the class into 3 groups rotating each 10 minutes. 1 with me focussing on new learning and using the vocabulary in patterned sentences, 1 free play group with the animals, 1 group sorting and labelling. This worked much better as the groups sizes were more manageable. I wish that we'd had more physical resources to facilitate play in the 4th term - more plastic animals, and more variety. Or some felt animals and habitat boards. This would have also been a great term to visit the zoo or a farm.
PTC 1 - Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focussed on the learning of Akonga through collaborative practice.
PTC 4 - On going professional development. This was a new initiative with a sharp learning curve.
PTC 5 - Leadership in promoting a better understanding of Blanks Levels and in redesigning the planning template.
PTC 6 - Conceptualise plan and implement an appropriate learning programme
PTC 7 - Promote and collaborative, inclusive and supportive learning environment
PTC 8 - Demonstrate in their practise knowledge of how among learn - Authentic play
PTC 9 - respond effectively to diverse language experiences
PTC 11 - Analyse and appropriately use assessment data
PTC 12 - Use critical inquiry and problem solving effectively in professional practice.