Yesterday afternoon during our PD (Professional Development) Day inservice, we listened to Angie Harrison (@techieang) talk about her writing program. Angie is a Grade 3 teacher in the York Region District School Board, and she agreed to Skype in and talk to a superintendent, a consultant, a principal, and a group of Grade 1 and 2 teachers in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Through Twitter, I’ve known Angie for a while now, but every time I talk to her, I’m inspired to try something new.
Like Angie, I run a separate Writer’s Workshop time in addition to my daily literacy block. Unlike her though, I assign the activities for the daily literacy work station rotation. I love how she lets students choose where they’re going to go to each day, and in what order they’re going to do the various work stations. She gives them control over planning their time, and after experiences like the one I had on the 100th day of school, I can definitely imagine the tremendous benefit in doing so. How do I make this work then?
I’m thinking of making the change after the March Break. I can then continue to build independence in the next three weeks, and slowly start giving the students more control over their choices of activities. I love how Angie has the students share what they’ve learned after the work station time, so that they are accountable for their learning. This is also a fantastic way to get students to provide descriptive feedback to other students. They can say specifically what they like and offer suggestions of next steps. Since this is a school goal, I definitely see value in doing this.
Now that the students have been exposed to many different types of read to self, read with someone, word work, work on writing, and listening to reading activities, they can certainly choose how they share their learning. I integrate lots of science and social studies into my literacy work stations, so I’m going to need to ensure that students still work with this content at the different work stations. I’m thinking of creating a list of options for each work station. Then students have ideas to guide them in their learning.
How do I help the students manage their time at the individual work stations though? How do I prepare my students with autism for the change in our literacy centre routine? What strategies have you used for students with autism to ensure that you balance both choice and structure? I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Angie, thank you for inspiring me to make this change in my classroom to even better help my students become more independent, self-sufficient learners!