Matariki T-Shaped Literacy.mp4

Direct Instruction

This session shows students learning in a T-Shaped literacy unit. It shows students learning about how writers use descriptive and specific language to enhance their stories about Matariki. Matariki is the topic or focus which catapults the students learning.

This session shows students engaging in the teaching and learning sequence followed by them engaging with each other to complete the shared task which involves both reading and writing and discussing how these areas work together.

Extended plan here


This lessons focus on descriptive language and language features went well and students were able to use prior knowledge of these areas to assist them in both the teaching discussion and the follow-up activity. By using the context of Matariki students were even more engaged in the topic. Comparing the two texts side by side in this manner was challenging for students however by using a buddy to support each other this challenge was made achievable.

This was a fun activity for students to work together on. Each student had a clear role in this work. 1 was controlling the reading of the text and the other was the recorder. They then swapped roles the next day when we moved onto the next text. This was also a good way to introduce students to reading with different people with different reading abilities (e.g. not their normal reading groups) as we had been working with a education specialist who has been challenging us to use mixed ability groups at reading time.

Students were able to access the T-Shaped literacy site easily and there was reading material based on Matariki and support material based on language features that students could access as they needed. Keeping the site format similar to previous T-Shaped literacy units was effective and the introduction of an extra learn page (based on the language features) worked well. A success of this task was seeing how much the students would read and re-read sections of the text to pull out more information.

This T-Shaped topic was based on descriptive language and started with a focus on finding these words and recording them onto a table. This worked well to focus students at reading time and then in writing we also were able to bring these same ideas across and focus on them.

Overall T-Shaped Unit Notes.

This activity lead nicely into students self selecting texts from a range of levels to read and complete reading responses to. These became very much a self selected and mixed ability group. We felt this worked well for our readers who were currently at their expected level but we still felt that it didn't necessarily cater for the needs of all. Next time we would still like a core group to read their normal readers alongside any other reading groupwork they do. ALL students were motivated both with the topic as well as with the reading and activities - from this point of view the mixed ability grouping was a huge success and as the texts were both available as a hard copy as well as a digital copy student were able to read and reread texts often which is a key focus of this style of reading.

Students were asked separately which books they wanted to read (which stopped student selecting the same book as their friends and meant they chose the books/stories they were most interested in. Interestingly how the books were set out helped students to decide which ones they wanted to focus on.

Our ORS, IWS and special needs students completed a similar (simplified texted) version of this activity in class alongside their peers. This was supported by using alterative texts that were based at their reading level along with Teacher support to begin tasks and TA's working to assist students to complete.

Class Site Content

Learning Intention

Students will read a Matariki text and look for descriptive language and language features.


Students work with a buddy to read and find examples that authors have used to help make their stories interesting.

Students will then classify these examples into a table that can be used to compare 2 stories. This table is arranged into sections based on different language features.

Learner Generated Content

Manaiakalani Education Trust

PO Box 18 061, Glen Innes

Auckland, New Zealand