Teacher Only Day

31 May

Teacher Only Day



Oral Language- Learning Focus for 2013.




Oral Language for the classroom- Focusing on Formal Oral Language.

Del Costello


Today Del came in to work with the entire staff with a focus on FORMAL Oral Language. Prior to this we have been focusing on using INFORMAL Oral Language within our classrooms, following and using the Talkit! Resource. We have been using the games to first assess children of where they are sitting in Oral Language and have started using feedback models and success criteria with our children.  All of the staff is successfully making sure the teaching of Oral Language is occurring all throughout the school. At the start of the day we carried out a PMI chart in groups (with a member from each team across the school) and discussed positives, minuses and interesting facts. It was great to hear so many wonderful things we were doing and what was working for other teachers. It was also good to see what was not working so well so we can improve and get better in some areas, as we are always growing.


Del shared many ideas and ways to use and teach Formal Oral Language within our classes. I found she had many wonderful ideas and her approaches to teach the formal side of Oral Language were very achievable for all of the staff to use and adapt in their own classrooms (refer to my notes in my appraisal journal for a more in-depth summary).


I got a lot of new ideas and information from hearing and working alongside Del. Here are just some of the main ideas that I thought I would definitely like to use within my own classroom and use these activities or tasks to teach Formal Oral Language within my class:


  • YouTube- 2 minute mouths- exercise to warm children up for Oral Language. The children can have time to move their mouths, lips and tongues to prepare them for speaking in an Oral Language lesson.
  • Speeches should not be all about the WAY it is performed, but the actual content. Children need to find a subject that really sticks out to them and they are experts on. Three types of speeches- we should use and try extempore because it is planned (quickly), prepared, practised (for a short amount of time) and a lot more natural for the speaker. Layout is great. This would be a wonderful idea to use in the classroom to prepare children for writing their own speech and becoming confident in the way they prepare and write their speech and how they present it in front of an audience. (in the Talkit! Resource there is a great form on how to write an extempore speech- page 76/77).
  • Visual boards- these can be used by the children when they give their extempore speech to the class. They need to be VERY simple with the main title outlaying the focus of the talk and then three pictures of each of the main topics/ subjects talked about (subheadings). The three main points can be named on the board but that is all the detail they need.
  • PowerPoint displays – These can be used by senior children to present work but these should be very simple. Only keywords and photos/ pictures on these to represent main points. These acts as a safety for children as they have something that keeps the audience focused on their talk and they can feel and become more confident from this.
  • Matrix to assess Formal Oral Language- This is similar to Informal Oral Language, but it lays out some more specific and information focused criteria. This can be found on page 69 in the Talkit! Resource.
  • Cue Cards- These should have the quick intro line, three points, and then conclusion/ summarising comment. Not too much information so the children do not read them or get lost when they try to look back at their notes.
  • Solo Poetry Speaking- This activity was WONDERFUL. I definitely will use this in my classroom. I want to have more of a selection of poems and get the children to understand how to read these correctly and also to add vocal energy when they read them aloud. This is the task my group had to focus on when all of the staff branched off into groups, practised and then performed. It challenged me but it was such a great task to do.
  • Choral Poetry Speaking- a BIG group (the entire class) read the poem and the teacher acts as the conductor. They can make sound effects, voices, vocal energy, musical instruments etc to create a performance of a poem.
  • Reading from a text aloud in front of the class. Similar to poetry reading- full stops have 2 pauses, commas one pause and end of paragraph 3 pauses etc. Use speech and expression to link to certain characters or say different words in a variety of ways and with lots of expression.
  • Debating- More focused on years 7-8 but it was wonderful to see how a form can be used (page 106) for the children to fill in and start to explore these ideas. Year 6 children who are really confident may like to start to understand a little bit more about it.


As you can see I have got many ideas and key tasks to implement and put into my classroom programme for the rest of the year. It was great to have Del push me to read out the poetry to the entire staff with vocal energy and get into character, I was terrified and nervous, but I did it and overcame my fear. I know how I can push not only my children, but myself to come out of my comfort zone and become a better teacher of Oral Language. I now know how my children feel and I can help and support them right through the whole process.

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