I tried something new in my French Language Arts classroom today… something I’ve never tried in this context before.
My group of grade nines is a very diverse group. There are 28 students in the class and they are working at a wide range of levels, in terms of reading and language skills, and also their independence level. Although a whole class novel study wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice, I work collaboratively with other teachers so that we can co-plan and co-create and support each other (and our students). As such, we are doing a novel study of the French novel Moi Sitting Bull.
We’ve done a number of background activities to prepare students to understand the content and make connections. It has been an excellent opportunity to address the treaty essential learnings for our students. We reviewed the grade 8 TEL objectives and I plan to integrate the grade nine content in as we move forward.
I wanted to try a balanced literacy structure in my grade 9 class and move away from the whole group instruction. I want to be able to work in a small group with specific students, while providing the others the opportunity to work independently.
Today was the first day of our small group rotations. Here is what happened:
We read as a whole group and discussed the content for the first block.
Students then had the choice of four stations with specific tasks and outcomes attached to each of the stations.
- exploring central themes and connecting with French song
- oral language in which students discuss and review content and prepare a dramatic reading of a section of the novel
- language, vocabulary and writing in which they respond to a journal prompt, fill in the ‘carnet de lecture’ (reviewing strategies, big ideas, key vocab, etc.)
- reading individually or out loud with a partner.
I chose not to try a small group yet so that I could support students as they learned about their stations. Students self-assessed and clarified where they had difficulty in their journals during the last few minutes of class.
Already, I see areas that need changes – clarifying expectations, t-charts with our individual roles posted, but overall, I am really excited about how this is progressing. Tomorrow, I will start with the small guided group.
The small group is going to allow me the opportunity to assess students through observation and discussion, explicitly teach and discuss reading strategies, hear students read out loud in a small group, fill in gaps where needed, but also, provide enrichment to those who are ready.
I am sure there will be many changes… stay tuned!