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 15 video demonstrations of best-practice English and literacies classroom instruction in-action

AITSL says "evidence shows that classroom observation is a great way to improve practice",  and we have received valuable feedback from our community which says you'd like to see real-life video demonstrations of best-practice English and literacies in the primary classroom, so we went ahead and created them for you! 

Below, you'll find a guide to a series of videos coordinated by Bronwyn Parkin (author of the EPAA-award-winning texts Teaching with Intent 2: Literature-based literacy teaching and learning and Teaching the language of climate change science) that show teachers modelling tried-and-tested techniques for achieving various English and literacies outcomes in the Science block: oral language, spelling, differentiated writing, jointly constructed writing, and more. Each video is paired with key takeaways and observations to help you get the most out of viewing.

These resources are all hosted on the PETAA Literacy Resources Portal for Early Career Teachers and are free to view. 

    Some of these resources are exclusively for PETAA members. Not a member? Become one today.

    1— Oral language: pollinators need plants and plants need pollinators (4 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is explaining symbiosis to students: how a pollinator, in this case a parrot helps create new plants, and how the plant provides food for the parrot. This is early in the topic, so there is a lot of teacher talk, as she explains the process to students.  

    > Watch now

    2— Talking about the needs of living things: plants (2 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is working with a group of students to understand how the needs of plants, as living things, are met. The lesson follows on from activities to learn about organisms and their needs, namely air, water, food, shelter and sunlight. As a class they have already discussed, made notes about, and jointly constructed texts about the needs of living things.  In this lesson, the teacher is applying understanding of those needs to a real plant, showing in the classroom how their needs are met.  

    > Watch now

    3 Oral language: two visiting scientists explain pollination (4 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher invites two visiting scientists to explain to the class how pollinators and plants help each other. This lesson is a consolidation lesson, and is followed by an extension of this content, when the class discusses how humans can help other living things survive and thrive when they are in need.  

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    4— Talking about the needs of living things: worms (3 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is working with a group of students to understand how the needs of worms, as living things, are met. The learning area is Science. The lesson follows on from activities to learn about organisms and their needs, namely air, water, food, shelter and sunlight. As a class they have already discussed, made notes about, and jointly constructed texts about the needs of living things.  In this lesson, the teacher is applying understanding of those needs to the worms in a worm farm, showing in the classroom how their needs are met. This is an important lesson because it’s the final oral language lesson before the students move to joint constructed writing.  

    > Watch now

    5— Preparation for writing: needs of living things: worms  (3 minutes)

    This is a video of a Foundation-Year 1 teacher preparing her students for a joint writing task. The learning area is Science. The students have been involved in activities to learn about organisms and their needs. The five needs are air, water, food, shelter and sunlight. As a class they have already discussed the needs, and looked at the needs of insects and flowers many times. They have a set of class notes which are on display, outside of the camera shot. This is the final lesson before the teacher moves to a jointly constructed paragraph about the needs of organisms. 

    > Watch now

    6— Differentiated writing (1 minute)

    This video is an example of differentiated writing activities in a Foundation-Year 1 classroom. The students have been learning what living things are. They have also learned the scientific term ‘organisms’ as well as studying pollinators in particular.  This video shows a Year 1 student writing the definition of living things on her white board. White boards are often used in this class because they are lower risk than writing on paper. It is easier to edit. In the background, you can hear the teacher negotiating the same sentence with a group of students who are not yet ready to write independently. These two levels of scaffolding are examples of how she differentiates for different abilities and developmental levels in her class, while all are involved in the same activity.  

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    7— How humans can help pollinators (7 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is showing students how they can help pollinators to survive and thrive.   The lesson follows on from previous lessons on the same topic. In this lesson, the focus is on how humans can help living things when they are in need. It is part of developing attachment to other living things. This lesson is followed by work in the school kitchen garden. Students will plant flowers, make bee hotels and prepare water bowls for the pollinators.

    >  Watch now

    8 From principles to practice: planting flowers in Science (3 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is working with a group of students to plant flowers. The learning area is Science. As a class they have already discussed, made notes about, and jointly constructed texts about the needs of living things. Now they are learning about how humans can help other living things, particularly pollinators, to survive and thrive. This lesson is followed by a shared writing activity that consolidates this learning.

    > Watch now

    9— From principles to practice: making drinking bowls for pollinators (5 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is working with a group of students to make drinking bowls for pollinators in the school kitchen garden.  This lesson is followed by a shared writing activity that consolidates this learning.

    > Watch now

    10— Matching sight words to pictures: needs of pollinators (5 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is matching sight words to photos of previous activities. The learning area is Science. The lesson follows on from activities the previous day when the students helped to meet the needs of pollinators by planting flowers, building bee hotels and preparing water bowls. (See videos From principles to practice: planting flowers and From principles to practice: making drinking bowls.)

    The teacher uses this chance to practice sight words as a prompt to consolidate learning, and make sure that students understand the needs that were being met through yesterday’s activities.  

    > Watch now

    11— Jointly negotiated sentence: pollinators (3 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is moving from oral language into writing through a negotiated writing lesson. As can be seen on the board behind the teacher, the class has already jointly negotiated part of a text about living things. This lesson produces a continuation of that text.  This lesson demonstrates a joint construction of text with a high level of scaffold. In other words, the teacher is doing the scribing, and the students are contributing vocabulary and helping with the spelling. They will all read the text sentence once it is completed. This level of scaffold acts as a model for student independent writing later on.

    > Watch now

    12— Shared Pen: jointly constructed writing Group 1  (10 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is jointly constructing a group writing lesson. The class has planted flowers, made bee hotels and prepared water bowls for pollinators in the school kitchen garden. This writing strategy is known as ‘Shared Pen’. Everyone in the group has a turn at writing something, with the teacher assisting, referring back to the class notes on display, and thinking out loud as a writer, and a speller. The teacher is modelling many aspects of writing. This is very focused work, and in a Junior Primary classroom, 15 minutes per group seems often to be about the right timing. This lesson is followed by chorus and individual reading of the text that was constructed bit by bit by small groups.  

    > Watch now

    13— Shared Pen: jointly constructed writing Group 2 (8 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is jointly constructing a group writing lesson. This is the second group contributing to the class text (see above for more information). 

    > Watch now

    14 Spelling: flowers (8 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is teaching the word ‘flower’ in spelling, using familiar vocabulary from the science topic of the needs of living things as a launching point. The lesson follows on from many previous lessons where students have talked, read, and jointly constructed texts about the needs of living things. They have made class notes to which they refer often. In this lesson, the class is in three groups, divided according to their spelling levels. One group is constructing a class text. One group is doing a matching activity with a school support assistant, and this group is doing spelling. After 15 minutes, the groups rotate.

    >  Watch now

    15— Spelling -un words: sun and bun (7 minutes)

    In this video, a Foundation-Year 1 teacher is teaching the -un pattern in spelling, using familiar vocabulary from the science topic of the needs of living things as a launching point.  In this lesson, the class is in three groups, divided according to their spelling levels (see above). The students in this group already know /s/, /u/ and /n/. A separate spelling lesson will follow to consolidate and extend words with the /-un/ pattern.  

    >  Watch now

     

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