Planning meeting 101

Planning meetings, things you will need: insect spray, sunshine, water bags, intermittent WiFi, pens and paper.

After the school visits, we started our planning for the teacher conferences. This is when the project really starts to take shape and I have the opportunity to fulfil my ambitions for this trip. So no pressure then! We also have ‘limited resources’, so no laptops. Back to pens, paper and sketchy internet access.

It was an intense and amazing process: 6 teachers all from different schools and 2 different countries all collaborating together. We planned 3 phonics inputs from scratch, with no flashcards, use of ICT or photocopied sheets. First step, figure out what we all mean by digraphs, blends, vowel pairs, sight words, tricky words, high frequency words – I’m so glad English has 44 sounds (ish – depending who you ask) and over 150 ways to spell these sounds!

Teaching reading here is mostly a whole word process relying on memorisation. And many of the children here can recognise a lot of words. When you teach phonics though, it takes a long time to lay the firm foundation of phonological knowledge required to read words. We’re planning on using the analogy of giving a fish or teaching someone to fish to illustrate the point. If you invest time in teaching words the children will learn quite a few words and maybe figure out some others. If the children understand phonics, they can figure out new words they have never been ‘taught’.

I have learned so much from my fellow teachers and I am so grateful to have the time to go back to basics and talk about what really matters. Go team phonics!

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