Wednesday 24 August 2016

Modelling book magic

One thing I have noticed about myself when teaching is that I often forget to record what the students and I are doing, hence have no evidence of it for either of us to refer back to.

Today during reading I set myself two goals
-1, to read with every student in my class, and 
-2, use the modelling book to record what my students did during this guided reading lesson

For context, we read another story about chess. Last week (some) of these students read a fictional story about two sisters learning to play chess and participating in a tournament in their school. Today,  (some) of us read this story which talks about one school who have chess experts and the people who helped get them there. A different type of writing, a different context and setting about the same theme. 

Using our modelling books..

Before we read, I drew a balloon and students wrote in their predictions based on pictures and the title. This is something we did a lot last term, so we don't want them to forget!

With a couple of my groups, we focused on their reading goal which is "ask questions about the text I have read". This goal is based on their need to really comprehend what they are reading, and being able to ask questions is a good way to show you have understood what you have read and that you have thought about it, not just read it and forgotten it straight away. 

So we had a box where the students wrote questions they had about the text, which they freely wrote independently as we read each page as a group. At the end of each page, we would stop and answer all the questions they had written and ticked them off as we answered them. The students answered each others questions, with me stepping in when they got really stuck.

We also had a 'new words' balloon, where myself or students recorded new words we came across in the text. At the end of each page, we discussed these as well and looked up the definitions.

Overall, each group had a page that roughly looked like this...

It was awesome to have the students so engrossed in their stories, thinking of heaps of questions which led to rich discussion around the text, learning new words and making connections to these. I think I definitely needed to start using modelling books again, as it gives more opportunity for students to share their thinking without the social pressure of interrupting the groups reading to ask a question or define a new word. It provided such rich discussion and we were able to make deep connections (e.g. the characters chess club was called Eastern Knights because a knight is a chess piece, and they lived on the East Coast. Whats the East Coast? *looks up then draws NZ map*...).

After the group meeting, I gave students the chance to go and practice playing a game of chess, which MOST of them were stoked to do! And again (see previous post), they loved having an abstract follow up.

We didn't have enough chess sets for the whole class to use at the same time, so some students started playing online (note - they discovered this themselves, I didn't instruct them to do this!). 

I really enjoyed using modelling books again today during reading and getting such rich results out of my time with the students. When they went off, they were still engrossed in the topic and used the new vocabulary they had just learnt to discuss their strategies as well.
Kia kaha kids!


  1. That's awesome Ashley, it's great to see all the learning that happened while I was away.

  2. That's awesome Ashley, it's great to see all the learning that happened while I was away.


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