Thursday, 2 February 2017

Balanced Literacy

I created the above infographic outlining the comprehensive literacy program and how it can be used effectively in the 100-minute language block. As mentioned in the infographic, comprehensive literacy is an approach that uses a variety of strategies in order to create a balanced program that meets the needs of all students.

The image in the top right corner of the infographic represents the teacher taking the individualized needs of each student into consideration when preparing for comprehensive literacy. In my opinion, this is the most important element of the balanced literacy program as it ensures that all students are able to interact with the learning in a meaningful way.

At the bottom of my infographic I have illustrated how the balanced literacy program can be implemented into a 100-minute language block. Both the students and the teacher have choices that they can rotate through during the 100 minutes. As the program becomes routine, students can self-direct their own rotations allowing the teacher to spend individualized time working with students making sure that all needs are met. Equal value is placed on each of the elements in the program ensuring that students have opportunities to develop all aspects of their language education.

100 Minute Literacy Block Organization

10 minutes- 
Whole Group Lesson (reading, writing, word study, or teacher read aloud)

20 minutes- 
Student Choices:
- lesson consolidation assignment
- self-selected reading
- listen to reading
- read to someone
- writing
- word study

Teacher Choices:
- guided reading
- focus group instruction
- assessment
- conferencing

This cycle is repeated 3 times throughout the 100 minute block ending with a final 10 minutes of whole group lesson consolidation.

Balanced Literacy Artifacts 

The following artifacts help to represent and can be integrated into the balanced literacy program. 

Balanced Literacy Anchor Chart 

This anchor chart illustrates some of the choices students could be provided with as they work through the rotations. An anchor chart similar to this one could be personalized to your own balanced literacy program so that it is easy for students to follow and represents the individualized needs of your own students. In order for the program to run smoothly, especially in the beginning stages, I feel that it is important to display a chart like this one in your classroom. This will help to keep students on task throughout the 100-minute block and will also help to guide them towards being agents of their own learning as they begin to navigate their way through the 100-minute block.

Storyline Online- Where reading is fun!

Storyline Online contains video clips of people reading children's stories aloud. This resource would be extremely useful when incorporating modelled reading into your balanced literacy program. This resource could easily become a station during one of your balanced literacy blocks where students can listen to a video and engage in comprehension questions to check their understanding. 

Conferencing with Students 

The third artifact I included is an image of a teacher conferencing with students. I selected this artifact, as I believe that one of the main benefits of the balanced literacy program is that it allows the teacher time to individualize instruction based on the needs of their students. One of the ways this can be accomplished is through student teacher conferences. Conferencing with students allows the teacher the opportunity to differentiate instruction and also allows the students a chance to clarify their understanding or extend their learning.

Guided Reading 

The article Guided Reading- a snapshot talks about guided reading and outlines how it can be effectively implemented into the balanced literacy program. This artifact would be useful to reference when first establishing a balanced literacy program.

Word Study Menu 

The fifth and final artifact that I have included is a words study menu. I chose this menu because I like that it offers students choice over activities that they can engage in during the word study portion of the literacy block. Having pre-selected choices allows students to easily transition into the word study station while giving them agency over their own learning as they complete an appetizer and entree off of the word study menu. 

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