Oz Lit Teacher is a movement of sorts- it’s about sharing good quality mentor texts to help Australian teachers teach reading and writing. The whole concept of Oz Lit Teacher came about for a few reasons:
If you know me, you will know I love to buy books (I always say “some people buy handbags, some people buy shoes, I buy books”). I was running a writing PD in a school, showing the teachers some of the texts I recommended as mentor texts for teaching different elements of writing, when one of the teachers asked me if I had an Instagram page or a Facebook page she could follow to get more ideas for books. I didn’t. It was a great idea and it got me thinking…
I believe in using the 6+1 traits to build teachers’ content knowledge around the qualities of good writing. I bang on about it all the time. I also bang on about mentor texts. A lot. What I find is that once teachers learn about the 6 traits and mentor texts they usually try their best to locate mentor texts to help them teach the traits. Because of how time poor teachers are, a list is usually printed from Pinterest about good mentor texts for the traits and, invariably, these texts are generally all American. Seeing American texts in the place of good quality Australian texts really irks me!
- We have incredibly talented authors and illustrators in our own country.
- We need to celebrate the work of these people and continue to support our own book publishing industry.
- Our students don’t need to be reading books with moms and trash cans and other Americanised concepts or vocab when there are perfectly good Australian alternatives.
So… Oz Lit Teacher was born. I created an Instagram page and Facebook group and page and began sharing texts with a 6 traits checklist to highlight my thoughts on what the text might be useful for when teaching. The ideas were really well received and people started asking if I could add a reading checklist as well. Great idea!
I have set myself the following challenge for the Oz Lit Teacher movement:
- Attempt to share a minimum of 3 books per week
- Aspire to share mainly Australian texts (I won’t say ‘only’ Australian texts as there are brilliant international texts that are worth sharing as well)
- Try to promote books that promote diversity in all its forms (I hope the Australian publishing industry starts making this goal a bit easier on me)
- Try and locate texts that would be useful from Foundation to Year 10
- Include at least 1 indigenous Australian text at least once a month (we need to significantly increase the number of these on our classroom bookshelves)
- Focus on building the capacity of Australian teachers to improve their teaching and learning of literacy (and to share their knowledge, skills and ideas)
So far I am really enjoying the learning that is coming out of my goals. In the few weeks I have been posting the books, I have already significantly increased my knowledge of the elements that make up good quality writing, as well as my capacity to spot these elements / traits in the books I’m reading. I’m also much more attuned at reading as a writer now, which I believe can only increase my own skills as a writer. (Oh, and I’ve purchased stacks more books for my home library- all totally justified though as I am starting a movement and nothing will move if I don’t have them!)
If you’d like to join the movement, check out Oz Lit Teacher on all the pipes:
Facebook Page– This copies the posts from Insta and puts them straight on a page
Facebook Group– This is where you can ask question to the Oz lit Teacher community and get ideas from other Aussie teachers