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Balance Training! The Secret Powers of the Tightrope! [BALANCED LITERACY!]

Part 1: Professional Development Recap

If you are new to teaching or a veteran teacher, hopefully at some point you have been introduced to Balance Literacy. It’s nothing new, an oldie but goodie that unfortunately is overlooked in many instructional approaches daily in classrooms. Sometimes it’s because of time constraints, overwhelmed with non-instructional tasks, tired and defeated or the passion and love is gone. A balanced literacy approach gives access to learning for all
students. It’s a form of differentiation in which we give multiple approaches for students to achieve the goal. Yet, for various reasons, not all classrooms are driven with various literacy instructional approaches.

It’s unfortunate because life is about balance, so why not literacy? As humans we balance everything, time, chores, family, friends, kids, pets, work, fitness, hobbies, sports, I mean everything! We do this for many reasons. So why would we only teach one way. Why wouldn’t we approach our instruction in different ways?

Currently at my school they are doing a FANTASTIC job! They hustle each day. But my eye for literacy has noticed here and there into the second 9 weeks that it was time for a refresher. Except I know my staff and they need not only to feel comfortable with their own instructional practices, but they needed to value it. We are all human, if we find no value in something we move in another direction.

So therefore I approached it from a few points of view to gain their attention:

  • Balance Training! The Secret Powers of the Tightrope! If you don’t know anything about this google it. It’s fascinating. There are some great videos too.
  • This led into the brain discussion, since everything starts there. I had teachers think about if they were left sided or right sided. Then their students. We began discussing if they were auditory and analytical or tactile and visual. Then their students.
  • We discussed how we balance ourselves on a daily basis. Then we discussed how we balance our work life and personal life.
  • Once we were thinking about balancing ourselves, the types of learners we were and our students were, it led into Balance Literacy. We need to value the instructional approaches to meet all of our students. We need to give all of our students equal opportunities in their learning style to achieve the same outcome.
  • From here we reviewed the components of a balanced literacy, participated in a few activities to either learn something new or refresh us.
  • We reviewed the shifts in the common core standards for literacy and discussed how important this was to Balanced Literacy.
  • We always end with a positive note about teaching our students to love reading!

 

 

Part 2: Products
 

Calling all Lead Teachers, Coaches, Reading Specialist, Administrators or teachers wanting to improve their instruction!!!

So I have created 2 products that compliment each other. They can go together or they can be separate. It all depends what you have in mind for the use of them!

First I have created a Balanced Literacy pack that is geared towards reviewing the components for implementation. There are multiple pieces to this pack that include: balanced literacy display, balanced literacy flip book, balanced literacy pre and post reflection of your practice and analyzing the types of learners your students are. All of these components fit in to the presentation and are noted.

Through this pack you will review the meaning of balanced literacy.
The pack included pieces to use in a professional development room, book room, during your presentation or any place that a visual would be beneficial.
Teachers can reflect on their instructional practices and reading block before and after the discussion of the balanced literacy components. What are they doing well? What else do I need to implement?

*REALLY IMPORTANT* As teachers we label students. They are this color and this level. They know this and not this. But we never stop to think of the types of learners they really are. This will help us realize that we can reach them so they can be successful.

Teachers will also spend some time thinking of their students and noting if they are left side or right side of the brain learners. When teachers value how their students learn, then they will value a balanced literacy approach.

SONY DSC

Teachers will spend time thinking about their students to see if they are Auditory and Analytical or if they are Visual and Tactile learners.
Lastly, after reviewing the components of a balanced literacy let teachers see if they know them by creating this simple flip book.
To get this click HERE or on any of the photos above!

Part 2: Continued Products

 
Second I have created a Balanced Literacy presentation you can use for professional development. The title of this presentation is: Balance Training! The Secret Powers of the Tightrope! I definitely try to give professional development in a way that I personally learn. Teachers need to be engaged and have a visual connection. I’ve always used real photographs, diagrams and displays. Teachers also need to be entertained.
As stated at the top of this post, I used tightrope training as my hook. It is a really interesting topic. The point is though it all starts with the balance of your brain to complete the task. From there we went into looking at left side and right side learners. We then discussed balancing ourselves personally and the balance of our work and home life. This all then led into the types of learners our students are and the fact that balance literacy is also differentiating instruction to meet all of our learners. We then reviewed the components of balanced literacy and discussed having the 90 minute literacy block. Lastly, we always end with a positive note on literacy. Below you will see some slides of the presentation. The presentation includes notes in the slides of when to use the activities above.
Presentation Collage

To get this click HERE or on any of the photos above!

Below are the links again, click on them to get them!
I hope you have found this post informative and useful! Don’t forget to follow me along my journey!

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