Reading Recovery teachers take turns to demonstrate a lesson behind a screen / mirror to their peers and tutor. The student cannot see that he/she is being observed. The Reading Recovery tutor guides the discussions as the other teachers observe what is happening.
Teachers in their training year do this more often. Once teachers are trained they continue to meet 5-6 times a year and each teacher takes one lesson behind the screen. The purpose is to check on your own teaching methods, question why you choose to make the teaching decisions you do, and to pick up some teaching methods / prompts that have not been considered / tried before.
My Ongoing Professional Learning team met last Friday. Our timely focus was on the discontinuation of students. The maximum number of weeks for each student is usually 20 weeks. If students are discontinued before this time, the teacher needs to be confident that the student is ready to leave the daily intervention and still continue to progress within the classroom. As the holidays are going to interrupt the last few weeks of the lessons, some students may be given some extra days / weeks to finalize their Reading Recovery intervention.
Click on the top picture to watch a video of Teaching Behind The Screen.
Over the past 2 weeks l have been testing my students to confirm what I think they already know, and to decide future teaching directions before these students finish Reading Recovery. (Anyone would think it was report writing time.)
The area that needed the most attention for all of the students was Writing Vocabulary, i.e. being able to recall and write the many, many words that they have previously written independently. The students were given 10 minutes to write as many words as they could.
Some students could not recall the words they did know. (These students would have been able to write more words if l told them which words to write from their individual lists.) Other students wrote some words with spelling errors, e.g. tow (two). One boy was determined to write big words (incorrectly) to impress me and did not write the many smaller words that he did know. This meant that all of the scores (number of words written in 10 minutes) was well below the number of words that l had recorded for each student as being known.
Why is this an issue? Students need to know what they know. If l know l can write day, then l know it will probably help me to write stayed.
If l can write many most-used words quickly without thinking much about it, l will have more time and energy to spend on new and more interesting words.
The students come across so many new words as they read that we have to make decisions re which words the students can work out on their own (without taking too long) and which words can just be ‘told’ to the student to keep the reading moving along.
The words that l ‘tell’ are mostly names. Ben and Sam are quite easy to work out but Sarah and Matthew are much harder. By telling the names, l am giving the student time to work out other words that have more valuable benefits, e.g. working out playing will be very useful when the student comes across plant, please and away.
Other words that l would probably ‘tell’ are nouns that have unusual spellings, e.g. photo, or words that are beyond the student’s capability at the time, e.g. fire engine, helicopter, squirrel, oven.
Do not think that you have to let your child struggle through every single word. No one enjoys that experience!