Friday, 27 February 2015

Getting Started

Last week I started with a group of seven students  from 3 different Year 7 & 8 classes. They are all reading well below chronological age - the students are aged from 10 years 9 months to 11 years 11 months as @ 1st February but reading @ 8 - 8.5 years. These students do literacy with their class and my programme is an added extra. 
So far I have experienced a wide range of engagement, from one student who complains each time about coming, takes a long time to come (even though he only has to walk 10 metres!) and then settle in to what we are doing; to students who are keen to come (maybe to get out of doing other class work) but are quiet and passive.

I am trying to get to know the students individually and as a group. I have worked with some of them in the past, but not all of them.
The plan is for the group to meet for four half hour sessions per week.
Lots of talking is happening!  I want our kawa to be that our learning is collaborative so we need to help and support one another positively. I am ensuring that everyone is being heard and their contribution is respected. I am providing positive feedback for every attempt to answer or ask questions. I have found out about some of their interests so I can look for resources that are interesting and motivating.

When we read, we all read the text aloud (including me) with frequent stops to discuss language and vocabulary. I am doing lots of gifting. At this stage it is all about it being positive and do-able.


  1. You are very focussed on setting up routines for collaboration and relating to others, I'm sure these will pay off.
    Your inquiry is to lift engagement for these older struggling learners, what are you going to try to change in your practice that you think could have a positive impact?

    1. I have thought long and hard about my reply to your thought-provoking question, Juanita. I am becoming convinced that the reading comes second to the talking at this stage. I believe that most, if not all, of these students feel like they are failures and this has knocked their self-esteem. But I am already seeing increased personal confidence and some risk-taking around responding to text. I think that my enthusiastic response to every attempt is beginning to pay off! I will post some examples of this soon.