Updates:Term 4, 2017
2017 VATE State Conference
Representatives from the Rutherglen and Dandenong Networks gave an enthusiastic and informative workshop presentation to a large and appreciative audience at the VATE State Conference on Thursday the 30th of November.
Their workshop focused on the strategies shared during The Best of Both World’s workshops and how they have successfully adapted and used these strategies to support their students to become active, engaged readers. School data clearly shows that these students are now reading more, comprehending at a deeper level and engaging more with a greater range of texts. It was delightful to see these teachers share their learning so competently and confidently. The support these educators show towards each other is inspiring. They work and learn so well together.
Engaging middle years readers: Strategies that grow engaged readers
We have classrooms full of students who can read, however, they aren’t reading and they don’t want to read. How do we support our students to happily and readily read in our classrooms? During this workshop, teachers from Dandenong High, Rutherglen High and Rutherglen Primary will share a range of successful literacy strategies they are using with their students to grow active readers. Data shows the students are reading more, comprehending texts at a deeper level and are engaging more readily with texts.
Presented by: Kerrie Ware, Lisa Rodrigues, Alexandra Gray, Rachelle Enever and Jenny Miller.
Term 3, 2017
This has been a very, very busy year for the Best of Both Worlds networks. Dandenong High and Rutherglen High have both been focusing on supporting their students in the areas of reading comprehension and reading engagement. Meetings and workshops have been very well attended by Year 7, 8 and 9 teachers, from across the disciplines, learning and sharing together.
Members from both the Dandenong Network and the Rutherglen Network have been working very, very hard this year. They have jointly written an article for Idiom (VATE) as well as presenting at the AATE/ALEA National Conference in Hobart in July, and the VATE MIddle Years Conference in August.
Lisa Rodrigues & Alexandra Gray from Dandenong High School and Kerrie Ware & Rachelle Enever from Rutherglen HIgh School presented some of the succesful strategies they have been trialling in their classrooms this year.
Bridging the gap between primary and secondary school
The transition between primary and secondary schools is a challenging time for students, parents and teachers. Research at a state, national and international level advocates that primary and secondary schools need to work together to support students at this crucial time. The Best of Both Worlds supports schools and teachers to work together and understand each other during this demanding phase. It also encourages schools and teachers to share the most effective and appropriate literacy strategies for their students. During the workshop presented at the National Conference, the coordinator of the project gave a brief overview of The Best of Both Worlds project, then the teachers from two of the network schools (Dandenong HIgh School and Rutherglen High College) shared their experiences and the strategies they use in their classrooms.
Presenting our The Best of Both Worlds project at the ALEA/AATE National Conference in Hobart in July was a privilege. It is a wonderful experience being immersed in the academic and practical brilliance of educators from all over Australia and the world. The power of collaboration and increased collegiality that comes from working in tightly knit groups who are then brought together to share their experiences, cannot be overestimated. The fact that other teachers found our approaches useful, interesting and hopefully inspiring, is one of the many benefits that has come from being involved in the National Conference. Supporting each other and the very real pleasure we took in watching the confidence of our team members increase, was another bonus of the Conference. The National Conference experience paved the way for another presentation at the Middle Years Conference in August and it was a follow up to the VATE State Conference in December 2016. The opportunities to grow through this BoBW project have been invaluable to us all, and we are now preparing for the State Conference that will take place in December 2017.
The opportunity to be there initially came about because of the support from The Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) Victoria, the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English (VATE) and the support of the Department of Education and Training – all of whom have worked on the development of The Best of Both Worlds. In particular, the work of Lynne Bury, Project Coordinator of The Best of Both Worlds has been instrumental in the success of the project and the real reason my colleagues and I were able to present at the National Conference this year. Our team included Lynne Bury, (Project Coordinator) Kerrie Ware and Rachelle Enever, (Rutherglen Network) and Alexandra Gray and Lisa Rodrigues (Dandenong Network).
Kerrie Ware Leading Teacher Literacy, Rutherglen High School, Network Leader Best of Both Worlds, Rutherglen.
Experiencing the guidance and leadership of Lynne Bury, Project Coordinator of The Best of Both Worlds and Kerrie Ware, Rutherglen Network Coordinator has proved to be a pivotal period in my career. Both leaders share their passion and expertise as they harness the enthusiasm and genuine desire of all team members to improve literacy outcomes for students across primary to secondary education. Presenting at the ALEA/AATE National Conference in Hobart in July was a magnificent opportunity to show case the strategies, resources and techniques members of our team have been utilising to improve reading comprehension and reading engagement of our students. With a focus on research based best practice we based our approach on the ‘Ladder to Literacy’ by Wayne Brinda. I found great pleasure in confidently sharing strategies that have facilitated students’ greater involvement and participation in learning activities; leading to a greater understanding of literature whilst expanding their world views. Presenting alongside Alexandra Gray and Lisa Rodrigues (Dandenong Network) gave me the opportunity to learn from their experiences and to view the overwhelmingly positive audience reaction to their outstanding contribution to The Best of Both Worlds project. Our team is now eagerly preparing for the State Conference in December 2017 during which I am looking forward Kerrie Ware’s Read-Aloud of her parody on Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Rachelle Enever Year 7 Coordinator, Rutherglen High School, Best of Both Worlds Network, Rutherglen.