Teaching Standard 3 includes the following:
‘Demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of Standard English, whatever their specialist subject.’
Is this really fair? With everything else you have to include in your own subject lessons, how can you be expected to include literacy standards and a focus on Standard English too? Surely that’s the job of the English department?
Actually, this standard is really important. You need to be able to demonstrate your own understanding and accurate use of Standard English in a range of different ways: report writing, letters to parents, emails to other staff, writing on the board, etc. Being able to model this to students is essential. This includes speaking in Standard English too.
So how can you tick the Literacy box in your classroom? Read below for some quick wins:
Use Accessible Texts
It’s really important that the texts you are giving to students can be read and understood by them. You can use the SMOG (Simplified Measure of Gobbledygook – honestly!) test to check the readability of any texts you are giving to your students. This is an attempt to match the reading level of texts to the ‘reading with understanding’ level of the reader.
Get literacy into your lesson from the off by displaying a keyword from the lesson on the board and asking students to make as many words as they can from the word on the board. Depending on the ability of your students or the level of challenge you want, you could add additional rules such as only allowing students to use each letter once. You can give points or prizes for the longest word or the most words found.
Set a Word Limit
Ask your students to summarise their learning from the lesson in exactly twenty words. Then ten words. Then five. Doing this encourages students to think carefully about the vocabulary they are choosing and the challenge of being exact means they have to think carefully about their learning in your lesson.
Provide a Word Bank
When students are completing writing tasks, provide a word bank to prompt their answer. As well as helping them to scaffold their answer, it also expands their vocabulary choices for your subject.
Try a Writing Task
Typically, there are some writing tasks that only seen in English lessons. Why not mix it up and use these writing styles in a completely different curriculum context? Narrative of a blood cell; an instruction leaflet for completing algebra in Maths; a newspaper article in PE about a game of netball: think outside the box and find yourself in for a treat!
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