For the last 2 weeks, I have been taking a different tack, using shorter texts which interlink. The strong science component has really hooked the boys in as there is a chance to do practical work as well. We have been making connections across texts, and discussing different text types.
Thinking about maximum engagement in order to spark momentum with this group of readers... They seemed to struggle with a chapter book (10 chapters!) Even though we bolstered the learning with multi-modal experiences at certain points. Perhaps we scale back to really short chapter books for a time? For example, this type of text by Joy Cowley.
We are starting the hell pizza reading challenge this week as well - with a twist. The children will have to read at least 4 different genres of books, and create 5 book reviews. At least 3 of these book reviews will be digital. Let's link to Aurasma and the children can make our classroom walls come to life with their voice and opinions.
Tapping into Get Epic is another resource I am trialling. At the moment the learners are reading texts on here purely for fun but I have not yet chosen a text from here to delve deeper in reading lessons. The advantage here is that the books can be 'read to me' and contain quizzes and videos, which add to the multi-modal experience and increase engagement.
Checking and re-thinking... leading to redesigning
One of my hunches was that the learners had limited mileage, along with lack of engagement in texts. Our library facilitator, Anna Malan, has been instrumental in adding new and exciting texts to the collection at our school. For the first time, one of my learners actually sit and read of his own volition, totally engaged in a Minecraft Zombie book.
Being inspired by listening to some Korero Point England Blog posts, the learners are excited to create similar book reviews. Not only will they learn through multimodal texts, but they will create and share their learning through multi-modal means as well. They will eventually choose their own book to read and review, but first they needed the process of reading, summarising, evaluating, justifying, recording and sharing their book review.
Here, I have hit a road block. While the text we are reading is the right level, my hunch is the children are not used to sustained periods of reading and retaining events in the text.
What followed yesterday was a very frustrating lesson on reviewing what had happened in the chapters 1 and 2 of Rat Island (Stu Duval). Frustrating for me because I had planned to teach how to evaluate the text so far in order to scaffold their end in mind (book review).
Instead, we had to go back to basics - thinking about the text and making connections between events.
After checking and scanning, now I need to refocus - I need to make sure I re-design their learning experiences in order that I am giving them enough time to read and evaluate. Perhaps before our reading workshops the children have to re-read the previous chapter to remind themselves of what is happening. Another scaffold may be 20 mins designated purely to reading in the lesson in order to build that mileage and dosage time of sustained reading.
Critical need for Critical Literacy Thinking about weaving the ideas contained in this article into my literacy lessons with the view to encourage deeper questioning and making text-self text-world connections. Thinking about whether the news is trustworthy does provide scope for teaching in multi-modal means, as well as an opportunity to think deeply and critically.
I came across this reading, which is somewhat tangential, but it prompted some thoughts for me about crossing boundaries in the learning process. We refer to this as getting out of 'The Pit' in our School.
One of my takeaways is:
'In the literature about boundary crossing and boundary objects, Akkerman and
Bakker (2011) discern four learning mechanisms, one of them being transformation. Transformation involves confrontation and continuous work which leads to profound
changes in practices where in-between, or boundary, practices may be created. They see
hybridization, where “ingredients from different contexts are combined into something
new and unfamiliar”, as one of the processes involved in transformation.
When practices cross boundaries and engage in a creative process, something hybrid
emerges.' - Godhe and Lindstrom 2014. Creating multimodal texts could be the creative process where the boundary is crossed, meaning engagement spills over into print-based texts as well.