Staff Feedback – PBAS Literacy Agreements

Next week we will be reviewing our current “PBAS Whole School Literacy Agreements” with Ali. These are draft documents  (R-6 & 7-12) and not complete. The R-6 document is further advanced than the secondary one.

We would appreciate teachers having a look at the document that relates to them and welcome comments related to that particular draft. It would be appreciated if staff can respond in the comments section of this post so that everyone’s views can be shared with other staff, leadership and Ali.

Please consider the following questions when responding:

  • Does it reflect current practice at PBAS R-12?
  • The R-6 organised the document under headings:
    • Modelled practice
    • Guided practice
    • Independent practice
      • What do you think of this formatting or would you prefer to outline reading, writing, listening/speaking, spelling, handwriting separately?
  • Do you see yourself in regard to literacy practice reflected in this document?
  • Does this draft consider Australian Curriculum English and Literacy Capabilities and all curriculum areas?
  • Does it consider the “Big Six” of reading instruction?


R-6 Literacy Agreement


7-12 Literacy Agreement

11 thoughts on “Staff Feedback – PBAS Literacy Agreements

  1. The 7-12 Literacy Agreement needs considerable work. Under the headings Text Knowledge and Word Knowledge there are a number of things that have been listed to be completed by staff. Are these things being done by staff? When do we have an opportunity to discuss these things and ensure we are doing them with our students? The text types section needs properly mapping. I’m not sure this is an accurate representation of what occurs at PBAS.

  2. I agree Nick, I’m not sure that this is an accurate reflection of what occurs and agree that the whole thing needs deeper discussion and development among the Secondary Team. I have mapped out some time at secondary team meetings but with all the other things that the team identified need to be included in our agendas it may not get all the air time it needs at that forum.
    In the section where we say we will use the “Text Types Writing Guide” I would say “So what??” How do we use it? Is that all we need to do? What else would reflect good teaching of literary practice and how do we know this is happening.
    I think we need to include how we analyse and use student data in every subject. I would like to map our students as a team into the waves of intervention pyramid and share how we are catering for our highest level and lowest level students to support them to be successful in each subject. We may need some further T&D on simply identifying the literacy requirements in all subjects.
    It would be good to go deeper into how we use strategies from the Tactical Teaching and Literacy for Learning programs to enhance the teaching and learning of literacy across secondary. ….and there’s still so much more… watch this space 🙂

  3. No real issues with the plan itself, however as much of this is new to me I can put forward that perhaps a disconnect exists between the plan and what happens in all classrooms.

    I love how the R-6 plan details specifically what kids will actually be doing down to the minute. I think the Genre guide of the secondary agreement needs replacing with a table that shows the responsibility of each learning area- eg ‘in year 9 science students will be explicitly taught how to write a report.’ As it stands, apart from being almost impossible to read, there is no mention of who holds responsibility for what which is fine if students only have 1 teacher but not in a secondary environment.

    Take out the ‘all staff will use’ section.

  4. The 3 headings are OK because they have all the areas within them. It is a good way to organise them as this is how they are taught. I am a bit concerned about the bit that says children read to an adult every day. That is great if it could happen but in reality it’s impossible. Also I know Ali won’t agree with this but if we send home a reader 1 to 2 levels below their reading level when are they going to practice their level. There is not enough hours in a day for us to do this with them. We would have to focus on reading half the day. ie have each group have a guided reading session each day.

  5. I believe it is time to reflect on what we documented in 2012 to ensure itv reflects current practice. We also need to have a clearly documented set of data collection, timelines, who will do it & when, but more importantly when the analyses of the data will occur and commitments to addressing what the data tells us.

    Whatever Literacy prcatices we documnet must be resourced adequately as well so that changes in pedagogy can actually occur. We cant do the trade of teaching justice without the right tools.

  6. I agree with Valmai’s comment about chn reading to an adult each day. I currently listen to 2 chn read per day when not conducting Running Records. To do quality listening of reading as well as ask some questions about the text requires time. Perhaps this could be read to another person so we can include students as well. Looking at text types and tracking which class will do which type is a great idea. We could do this at the beginning of the year so teachers know what they need to teach. The comment about chn needing to read 50% non fiction is valid but we need more readers available as home readers are probably 80-90% fiction. Beginning to purchase sets for Guided Reading is a start but we need to continue to purchase non fiction texts as well as ones that demonstrate a range of text types.

    • Is this an opportunity to educate families, through the newsletter, a literacy pamphlet or something similiar that informs parents about what we are trying to achieve with reading at a junior primary/primary level including information about parents providing both fiction and non-fiction books for their children to read?

  7. To be perfectly honest I had almost forgotten about the existence of these documents. Granted, it is not the focus of what I do but I still feel that maybe it’s a bit indicative that they are not at the forefront as a planning and assessment tool.
    The R-6 model is very prescriptive, detailed and clearly set out. It provides a comprehensive overview and addresses many different aspects of Literacy learning in classrooms. Whilst it is not finished I can see it being a useful tool to ensure a consistent approach across all classrooms. From a Wellbeing perspective this enables students to feel secure and confident. When they feel this way they are far more likely to engage in meaningful learning and find it to be a positive experience rather than a potentially distressing one.
    The 7-12 model is a good start but needs a lot of work. I feel very strongly that insisting Literacy be a primary focus in all areas of learning is actually discounting the importance of other very important subjects. I will never deny that Literacy is one of the most important aspects of schooling, both Primary and Secondary, however the approach to it being part of curriculum areas other than English needs to be of an implicit nature. As someone who teaches in one of these areas, my aim is to allow students to see Literacy as a necessary tool if they want to be successful in their learning and enjoyment in The Arts. The Arts comes first in my program, and I sneak the Literacy in as part and parcel. It’s a tool, not a stand alone part of what I do. This is very similar to the way that ICT is approached and utilised in these same specialised subjects. It should be seen as a tool, not an isolated entity valued only for it’s novelty value. As a novelty it has no purpose and will remain an abstract bearing little to no importance in the lives of young people.
    Consistency of approach and language used is in my opinion the key to a successful whole school agreement.

  8. Having looked at both the R-6 and 7-12 documents, the primary document is considerably more advanced than secondary. I also noticed that the 7-12 document only really deals with the writing aspect of literacy, rather than encompassing all aspects which needs to include spoken and comprehending texts. After the work teachers did with the Literacy for Learning program I also think the documents could include the teaching and learning cycle plus mention that we are aiming to progress students across the register continuum from everyday / concrete communication to technical / abstract communication at senior year levels.

    • It is a good point that you make Tanya. I know Sam has also mentioned the fact that we have done a variety of T & D sessions ie. Literacy for Learning and Tactical Teaching but they (or aspects of them) are not necessarily a part of our literacy agreement. We certainly need some time to discuss the things you have mentioned and bring together our practice into this document.

  9. The primary document is formatted well, it is easy to read and just needs a bit of fine-tuning to complete.
    Dividing it into Reading, Writing , Listening & Speaking is easy to follow as I find this the best way for me to think when I program even though many tasks we do use all of these modes.
    Are the 4 writing samples like we used to do for the Literacy folders?? Will these become Portfolio evidence perhaps??
    The areas of spelling and handwriting obviously need more focus to format like the other areas. Handwriting is an interesting one. I know Danny has managed to shuffle this in as a stand alone lesson and it is now part of the AC in English but I really struggle to fit it in and haven’t really done so for a fair while? What do others think?
    When it comes to the standards that we want kids to achieve and the lists etc that we want them to cover much of this was outlined in our old faithful Literacy Folders. It would be worth looking back at these as the standards were fine-tuned over 3 or 4 years and should be pretty reliable.

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