Easy, fun strategies for teaching reading and writing . . .
I hope you’ve been well and enjoying a productive year. It’s been ages since I posted. As some of you know, our blog had been taken down. Thank you to Glenda who advised our blog had been spammed with inappropriate material. This has only just been resolved and we’re back in action. As a result, I have a number of entries from earlier this year ready to upload over the coming months.
To get going again I’m posting a series of entries about some ideas you may have seen in workshops or demonstrated in schools. The series is inspired by an experience early this year . . .
I had the pleasure of facilitating some professional learning at a school I’d visited more than ten years ago. Though many teachers had moved on, some of the original staff remained. On arrival one teacher reminded me that on my last visit I’d presented the SMILE Workshop and showed some fun strategies to use with students.
Over the course of the day, teachers I’d worked with previously used the term, “Angela’s gimmicks” and for over a decade teachers have asked how I came up with the ideas to begin with. Often in workshops and when consulting in schools, I demonstrate or teach these ideas as techniques, but time seldom permits a full explanation. As I’ve heard comments similar to “Angela’s gimmicks” over the years, I thought I should explain the ideas, their origins and how they were designed to link pedagogy, content and data.
I have woven these strategies into many Literacy Solutions’ workshops and they are frequently demonstrated by our consultants in classrooms. They are easy to apply, fun for students and grounded in research. I strongly believe that if we know why we do something, we do it more effectively, so over the coming weeks I’ll post blogs about the ideas teachers have tried with success and which have generated the most feedback and email. I’ll focus on just a few key strategies, but please let me know if there are others you’d like included. The following list will get us started:
- Cheerful Editing Pens: to inform explicit teaching, apply target strategies and skills and develop self-reliance in writing
- Mastery Stations: to take to automaticity, an element recalled or remembered, but not yet mastered (develops mental and motor mastery)
- Sliding Cards: to assess, monitor, teach, develop fluency and teach for reciprocity around word solving in reading and writing
- The Reading Wall: to increase metacognition for word solving, teach for flexibility when using strategies, reinforce strategies used, set goals for strategies neglected, examine and modify patterns of behaviour and analyse words requiring multiple strategies
- Reading Stamina: simple modifications to increase the yield
- Peer Tutoring: as a high yield approach, not just an activity
I’ll begin the next post by explaining where the ideas originated, what inspired them, how they were trialed and with whom and how each idea connects data, pedagogy and content. Subsequent posts will address each strategy in greater detail.