To effectively implement
the role of Pow Wow Pals
in the classroom.
What does the data tell me?
Students have difficulty expressing
themselves or sharing ideas to the class or a
Students demonstrate poor understanding of
the role of the Critical Friend role.
Students have difficulty getting engaged in
quality learning conversations.
What am I trying to achieve?
Demonstrate and understand the role of the Pow
Wow Pal and the Pow Wow itself.
The Pow Wow Pal role is infused throughout my
It will become natural to the students to discuss
their opinion with their Pow Wow Pal.
Students to demonstrate meaningful and focussed
KEY ELEMENTS OF CRAFT KNOWLEDGE
Focus on Improvement
WHAT DID I DO?
Use deliberate acts of teaching and explicitly teach
the role of a Pow Wow Pal.
Choose topics that are fun/of relevance. Use hooks
Provide opportunities for the students to have
discussion with their Pow Wow Pal. Time limits.
Make sure that I lead by example and demonstrate
the necessary skills required.
Students are given continual feedback on progress,
record and review progress. Podcast, Video/Movie.
What Worked? What Didn’t?
Students are motivated to participate in the
Addition of traffic lights to share their viewpoints
easily has benefited the students and their initial
Students particularly enjoy the ‘challenge’ aspect
that we have adopted at the end of each session.
Some students are not participating in the Pow
Wows as actively as I would like them to be.
I have made sure that our morning Pow Wows are
a routine that we have every morning.
KEY ELEMENTS TO FOCUS ON
Based on Research Knowledge
“Oral Language underpins all learning and all
social interaction. Whenever we think, read and
write, we are drawing on oral language in some
“Oral Language has always been a fundamental
component of the English curriculum. However
its role in supporting learning is not confined to
one curriculum area.”
“Oral Language is much more than just
speaking and listening … Our oral language
practises shape us as people and affect every
aspect of our lives.”
The morning Pow Wow has been very successful in
strengthening not just my focus group, but the
majority of my students Oral Language skills.
It has been powerful to observe my students
sharing well thought out points and engaged in
high quality discussion with one another.
It was beneficial having my Critical Friend come
and observe the Pow Wow in action and share his
feedback with me.
I also found it really useful to have my Grad
student take the morning Pow Wow and this let me
watch someone else taking the programme.
Because of the topic that I chose it was hard to
formulate summative findings.
So here are some thoughts from the students:
“I really like the topics that we are given every
morning and how we talk about them.” -Kara
“My favorite part is when we get to challenge what
someone else has said. I like to question their
“Our Pow Wows are very cool. I like how we use
the traffic lights to share how we feel before we
“You prompted the class about the reasons why we
are getting better at this. They clearly understood
this and seemed quite motivated. You have some
excellent displays on the walls that you referred to
“I really enjoyed the conversational style of
management you had during the session. Children
seemed free to contribute to the whole class
discussion when appropriate and were developing
social skills to do this.”
“Students are asking each other questions and
challenging each others point of view.”
I have posted my weekly reflections via the
Teacher Inquiry tab on my Personal Blog.
This may be helpful for those who would like to set
up their own Oral Language Programme of a
You can read about the changes I made and how it
all came about from the ‘get go.’
I am in the process of putting together a resource
pack to use this idea in your own classroom that
can be downloaded from my Personal Blog.