1). Although an experienced teacher, I am new to modelling books. They are not just an expectation but a requirement at my school. Initially I was all gungho, but overtime, I struggled to integrate them into my small group lessons. I was OK with the whole class modelling book for writing, it was maintaining modelling books for each reading and maths groups that I couldn't do. I found the setting up so repetitious and time consuming. Additionally, using them during the lesson, I found they interfered with the flow of the lesson and my ability to differentiate.
During a learning conversation with my dean she started out with simple open ended questions. "Tell me how have tried to use them? Why do you think they are getting in the way of good teaching?" She brought me back to research data about their effectiveness to clarify lessons and to enable students to take ownership of their learning through modelling book. She reminded me that I already practiced all the skills for a successful modelling book, but I did it orally and through the whiteboard table. However, at the end of the lesson it was all erased. We explored together the pages of my books while I explained why I was frustrated by them and how I had felt restricted by them, as if I was teaching to the modelling book not the the students in front of me. I wanted a model that allowed me to be flexible and responsive in the iterative moment of teaching, to be able to differentiate for each student in providing rigour in complexity or quantity. I was able to field some possibilities with her, test out ideas for how I structured the book, its set-up etc.
2). The second learning conversation that still resonates with me is one I had at the very end of term 3 with our DP. It centred around a discussion of my use of Reciprocal Teaching with my guided reading groups. I had struggled to find the right introductory, support and follow-up material to use with the students as everything I had come across was designed for use with upper primary or higher. In the end, I designed my resources and launched into teaching these powerful strategies to the students. My DP's simple open ended question was, "Has it been as effective as you had hoped?" This launched me into a discussion about the students' struggle to comprehend the function of seeking clarification. Too often they used this when actually all they really wanted was support to decode the word. Once the word was decoded they often knew its meaning and were satisfied to move on. I realised that I needed to make these two functions, decoding and clarification, much more distinct for the students. I also realised that in focussing on comprehension WALHTs I was removing a focus on decoding that these very young readers still needed. I decided to review all the Reciprocal Teaching strategies in the fourth term, but to also run a generic secondary WAHLT every week of WALHT use a mixture of strategies to decode tricky words. I brainstormed with them the many strategies they already knew and these become our success criteria. Then I encouraged them to self-select strategies in combination to solve tricky words. Once a word was decoded, if it was still unknown, that was when we moved it through to our Clarification page.
PTC 1 - establish maintain effective professional relationships focussed on the learning and well-being of Akonga.
PTC 4 - demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional ;earning and development of personal professional practice.
PTC 12 - use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.