PSC teachers spent some time June 9 discussing literacy initiatives they held for students over the school year. The project was to inspire and teach literacy in all aspects of school learning. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka teachers bring literacy to their professional development

Teachers at Ponoka Secondary Campus bring literacy into classrooms through professional development.

Teachers at Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) used a professional development initiative to bring literacy into their classrooms.

To showcase what worked for them, teachers met June 9 highlighting exactly what they did to help students expand their literacy.

Lacey Elliott, a teacher and inclusion coach at PSC helped bring the program to teachers. This school year staff conducted a book study of Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? by Cris Tovani.

“The book is about integrating literacy and instruction into all subject areas not just language arts,” said Elliot.

For teachers the challenge was to find ways of teaching literacy skills not just in English, but in math, biology, cooking or CTS classes. To inspire a love of teaching literacy the process followed project-based learning for staff members, said Elliott.

“We basically gave them the read and said, ‘Take something from this book and put it into action in your classroom,’” she explained.

Teachers had the whole year to practice their ideas and they then presented those to their peers. The presentation was quite similar to seeing students present their findings from a science class or language arts class and the involvement from teachers looked positive.

“I am seeing a ton of creativity. I am seeing enthusiasm,” said Elliott. “I am really impressed with the work that the staff have done.”

“Everything from math to higher level sciences have been represented.”

At first there was some trepidation on presenting the results, but what Elliott says she found was excitement in the end. “I think it’s safe to say everybody’s pretty proud of what they’ve done and pretty happy to have a reason to talk about it.”

After the presentations, teachers then discussed how the book can affect teaching on a long-term basis. The goal is to bring those ideas into the next school year and to expand them further.