S2: Exploring literary language transcript

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Teacher: My whole classroom is centred around quality literature and the fact that the new syllabus is really giving teachers permission to just opening up all the libraries. We’re opening up the bookshelves and bringing quality literature back into the classroom. I just think it’s so important, it’s so engaging for students. The most I ever get out of my students, the best conversations I have with my students are when we’re reading a quality text.

We’re going to look at how Margaret Wild uses that language and we’re going to look at a specific passage in the text and we’re just going to study that passage in the text and we’re going to look at how she uses that language and what she does to capture that moment in time.

The ways that I ensure that my students know what is expected of them is that I really make sure that I have a clear focus for the lesson, so I set up a learning goal, learning intention for the students and we really go through that together thoroughly. So we pull it apart we know exactly what it is, what our end goal is for the lesson.

“The baby wailed waving a tiny fist; the lion felt a spark of pity in his chest”.

We get tears, we get laughter, we get happiness. The students and I connect the stories that are in those books and they lead to other books and then they lead to other stories of their own lives and I just think it’s the most important thing you can have in your classroom.

“If I could I would take them into the library where it is warm and safe. If only I could move.” He’d never desired anything so fervently before”. So we’re going to go back and have a look at that whole passage now. “The lion felt a spark of pity in his chest”. To me that word “spark”, I think Margaret Wild has chosen that word specifically to really get things going. It’s like you’re sensing that something’s about to happen. This is almost like a little start of that transformation. “The lion felt a spark of pity in his chest”. So it’s just a little ‘boop’, right there in his chest. Something’s ignited in him.

I like to model my love of quality literature. I really like to put that out there with my students. That’s what I’m all about, that’s what my classroom is all about. And I really make sure that they have that love of quality literature.

“His heart flickered”. So first the spark, then his heart starts to flicker. So things are starting to build aren’t they? First the spark, then the flicker of his heart. Have you ever had that, when your heart just has a little ‘whit’, a little flicker and you feel a little bit of joy and happiness inside? I think that’s what the lion was doing. His heart was flickering. Those two words; spark and flicker. They make me think of….I see an image in my mind when I think of that. The image that I see is fire. Did you..can you relate those two words, spark and flicker. Can you relate those two words to a fire? Kirsty did you want to contribute something?

Student: You know how it said he felt a spark of pity in his chest, and you know how it said that his heart flickered? Maybe it went from his chest to his heart and his body started, like, transforming.

Teacher: Oh, you’ve thought about something that I didn’t even think of.

I made sure that when we were working on the floor, that everything that I was doing was directed at all students, but at the same time I was requiring some students to work in different ways. So, when the students are working on the floor, I would ask for, I might join in with a little group who I know are working at a certain level and point my directed questions at them in a certain way to know that I want to get something specific from those particular students. Whereas another group of students I might have say, some higher order questioning I may give to them and I really want them to be quite critical about what they’re doing in the text and how they’re thinking about the texts.

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