Literacy expert, Terri Campbell, continued her work with Portland Secondary College teachers last week following on from her visit to the school in January. Terri has been working with teachers to develop Strategies to focus on Literacy in every classroom and subject area.
The focus of last week’s workshop was to identify where there has been ‘traction’ with reading and the teaching of comprehension strategies. The teachers, working in their Curriculum Action Teams, explored vocabulary strategies and ways to embed them into classroom practice and link to writing, as well as experimenting with methods to build writing stamina and rigour in specific content areas.
At the end of the workshop teachers had a range of strategies to trial in connection to vocabulary and writing instruction in their classroom, as well as protocols and a lens for ‘Looking at Student Work’.
Humanities teacher Donna Bassett found the day very inspiring. "The day was amazingly rewarding. I especially enjoyed being shown so many strategies to help improve literacy, and to see ones that I already use. I have gone into class in this last week and used some of Terri’s strategies which I believe worked well."
"The Humanities team has been focussing on vocabulary and glossaries this semester. We have all walked away from the experience with ways to help us make the vocabulary stick in our students’ minds for a longer time. It will be amazing to see what we have all used in our classes and how it works when we get back together this week," Donna explained.
"It was pleasing to have some of our school’s beliefs about literacy validated by an expert like Terri," School Librarian Jan Colliver said. "For many years the PSC community have had a quiet 15 minute daily reading time. Terri pointed to research that has found that 15 minutes of reading time daily assists students improve their vocabulary and thinking skills."
"The workshop provided staff with an opportunity to trial practical ideas in vocabulary building and writing tips which can be adapted to any curriculum area. We pinpointed ‘shared vocabulary’ that students need to succeed in the senior years of education."
Terri is working with a number of local primary schools on Literacy and it is extremely beneficial to continue to develop Literacy strategies that will transition students from Primary to Secondary level.
"With Terri’s expertise, a range of teaching staff worked together to develop ‘Literacy Walks’," said Matthew Powell, PSC’s Teaching and Learning Coach. "These walks looked at what literacy scaffolding techniques are being used in classrooms and which strategies are effective. The team will continue to improve literacy across all Key Learning Areas."
Professional Development Days with Terri are already in the pipeline for 2015 to ensure that Portland Secondary College continues to build and implement Literacy Strategies across the curriculum to assist students to grow and achieve their best.