Sunday, March 31, 2013

Collaborating and Learning

Our school began using the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) in the winter of 2011. It's an early intervention system for small groups that we purchased to supplement our literacy program and to support our lowest achieving students in the early grades. It has been very successful for student learning and unexpectedly, it has been a great source of Professional Development for our teachers.

Through creative planning with a supportive principal, we were able to collaborate and learn all about the LLI system as a team. We were given time to meet twice monthly to discuss lessons, students and our own learning. We also collaborated with our sister school and started a professional book club using "When Readers Struggle - Teaching That Works" by Gay Su Pinnell & Irene Fountas to expand our knowledge and understanding of how children learn to read.

Not only has this system been successful in supporting our lowest achieving students but the material and resources provided by this program gave teachers a solid knowledge and understanding of what an effective guided reading lesson looks like in a classroom. The lessons in the program provide teachers with powerful, daily, small-group instruction that they were able to put into practice and embed into their classroom literacy instruction. This process helped to enhance effective literacy practices at our school. 

Have you found unexpected PD opportunities in your school? Please share!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Inquiry Teaching & Learning!

Building Background Knowledge

As part of our PKE project, we've been visiting classrooms to provide authentic hands-on learning for teachers and their students.  Danielle Parent and I spent "A Day of Inquiry" with this grade one teacher and her students.

We  began the day by introducing the topic of "Welcome to our Community."  We showed short video clips from Learn 360, read a text about "Community Helpers," we recorded new words and new learning on a chart together.

Students were put into 4 groups of 5, and they were given post-it notes and a basket of books to do their own research. They had to record questions and new learning, then they presented their findings to the class. This strategy helps to build the background knowledge necessary when beginning an inquiry.

Why do firefighters work out?

We found out a lot about our Community Helpers!

Sharing our findings!
Next, we introduced 4 centres! Each centre was 30 minutes with a 5 minute presentation of their work.

Smart Board Centre
Storytelling using Felt Board App & Explain Everything App

Plasticine Community Helpers and Tools

Building a Community

The day went by quickly and these grade one students were asking us to come back. Their teacher was impressed with her students' level of engagement throughout the day.

Providing authentic hands-on learning to teachers and their students about the inquiry approach to teaching and learning is inspiring. We learn so much from each other!
Are you using the inquiry approach to teaching and learning? 
Please share, we would love to hear from you!