English - An introduction
Our English curriculum is based on the Victorian Curriculum Standards.
We use an instructional structure called a workshop that is focused on work time, so students have the gift of time to practice new skills and apply them to the project and their product. It allows time for direct instruction, but also releases the teacher to assess, monitor, and teach.
There are 3 main workshops in English: Reading, Word Study and Writing. Each workshop has a clear focus or learning intention and successes criteria recorded in the work program, displayed in the classrooms and made clear to students.
As a guide the English block is from 9.10 am to 11.00 am and would look something like:
There are times when this might spill over into the second instruction period or you might have Math first and then English but generally, they are held in the morning block.
We plan at least 4 workshops per week to cover the curriculum with the remaining one to catch up, teach handwriting, collect assessment data, as well as a 30-minute structured library session.
The workshop is based on Marzano and Hatties’s common strategies for effective teaching using I DO – WE DO – YOU DO model gradually releasing the responsibility to the student.
Readers workshop 45 min
Word study workshop 20 min
Writers workshop 45 min
Our 8 strategies
Have a clear focus on what the student should be learning, and ways students can demonstrate success (Lesson Intentions and Success Criteria)
Explicit Instruction (during the mini lesson) both the skills and the deeper understanding usually through graphic organisers (e.g. cause and effect). Teachers usually model the skill and their thinking whilst completing the modelled example.
Student engage with the content (could be in cooperative pairings or individually) through summarising, asking questioning about the text, taking and organising notes and creating diagrams, mind maps, graphic organisers and concept maps.
Teachers provide feedback to students whilst they engage with the content.
Provide multiple exposures through practice spaced out over time
Apply the knowledge either through deductive thinking (generalise their thinking beyond the topic) and problem solving (how to solve problems – real world if possible)
Students working together cooperatively – after they have become competent with the material – group size between 2-4.
Building student self-efficacy, through genuine praise related to the task or skills and expressing your belief that they can do well.