Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ideas to help boost confidence in the senior school

I met with our RTLit recently to have a korero about a learner in my class. She said what we'd initially thought - that he was not bad enough to be picked up but that she would keep his profile for next year. 

However, she also made some great observations and gave some really good advice when working with learners like this. This particular learner is always slow to start, especially with writing. The RTLit said that this was typical for students who have struggled throughout school to become less confident in taking risks about "knowing what to do", which is why the learner sat without working because they were not entirely sure of what to do. It was observed that it wasn't until the learner heard feedback from me (that I was actually giving someone else) that they were able to start. She checked the learner's work afterwards and they had used the feedback they'd overheard.

 So how do you reach these kids? Her advice was to use "thinking out loud modeling" when modeling writing to show him how to use figurative language and pull out that really rich vocabulary and use it in their writing. This is really weird, especially in a Year 5 and 6 class but I have given it a go with success. This is definitely something to continue. Also, in their plan they had words like funny and tall. Using the thesaurus on a mac's dashboard, we worked together to pull out rich vocabulary. They felt so proud using words like colossal and side-splitting.

Reading was the same, once other people shared their ideas, the learner felt confident to share their ideas because others' had confirmed that what they will say is correct - very interesting. Now, the RTLit started talking about teaching (to) the STAR test. Which, I didn't entirely agree with because it's like teaching for the test? Is this authentic learning? However, I tried it as it still had merit in their learning. So I came up with this document of a story we were reading in class. We have shared reading on Monday and then group reading Tuesday - Thursday to finish off. The following week the story becomes independent work. I tried to make it as creative as possible at the same time, trying to focus on the skills that learners' come across in a STAR test. As always, I would love any feedback! What are some other ideas I could try? Especially with an ICT element?

1 comment:

James @ Russell Street School said...

Great reflection on the merits of teaching to a test. I prefer to find similar activities and examples that are like the structures found in the test. ARB has a wealth of content and is worth a look.