Monday, 23 September 2019

Term 3 Data Shifts

Once again, the end of the term is upon us and I set out to test my Focus group of children using the PROBE reading test.  However, as I began testing other students in my class quickly became interested and asked to be tested as well.  Before I knew it, I was using nearly all of my classroom release time to test my reading students. I am so pleased to know that nearly every student in my class has made 6 months progress during this term (this will be discussed in detail further down in the post).

The above data is based on Running Record tests conducted using the PROBE test. 
The above graph illustrates the shift of my focus group throughout the year so far. Students A, B, E, G and I all went up an additional 0.5 years this term, while Students C, D, and F went up 1.0 years this term.  It is also important to note that Student H has relocated and is no longer a student at our school.

It was my intention to work primarily with the learning needs indicated from the Term 2 testing data of students D and F this term in an effort to see accelerated growth from them by the end of this term.  I am so please to see that both of these students have made a year progress this term.  Student I has also made 0.5 years progress during the term since arriving at our school.

During the upcoming term, we will be focusing on reading plays as part of our Inquiry topic. However, I would really like to give my class some opportunities to read and discuss longer texts.  I hope to have them read at least one chapter book next term.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Small Steps to Vocabulary Success!

One of the things that I have been considering recently is how successful has the deep diving been when developing vocabulary acquisition with my students this year.  I discussed my initial process with Deep Diving in an earlier blog post found here.

Recently, I spent some time deep diving a few words/phrases that I felt were important to discuss with my reading group prior to beginning the text.  However, I asked students to circle any words or phrases that they were unsure of while reading the article with a partner.  It was my intention to spend some time discussing these words as a group later in the week.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that some students took it upon themselves to deep dive/word web the identified words/phrases and share their understanding on their blogs.  This is seen in Lillyana's blog post below.

I was really impressed with Lillyana's post because also took the time to indicate using a question mark (?) the possible definitions for the words she was exploring. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

One Key Strategy: Reading and Maths

Image result for 3fer

As part of our CoL discussions this year, we have been hearing about the data being collected and interpreted by Russell Burt, the principal of Pt England School and the Convenor or Manaiakalani, about obtaining a "threefer."  Russell is inquiring into how we can obtain accelerated achievement across all three core learning areas: Reading, Writing and Maths.
We were previously asked to consider what we do in our classrooms and across our cluster to make that accelerated shift happen in writing. After considering that information, we have been asked as CoL teachers to consider a key strategy from our own teaching that enables our students to achieve.

During our daily morning team meeting, we had a few extra minutes so we spent some time reflecting about what we do as a team of Year 7/8 teachers that we feel are our key strategies.

This is what we came up with:

  • Difficult/challenging text when in guided reading session with teacher (deep diving the "Jannie Way")
  • Testing more often. At least once a term, especially our priority learners and those we feel have made progress. Not waiting til the end of year so that we are consistently teaching at the right instructional level. 
  • Having a consistent strand focus-teaching number knowledge through strand
  • Explicit school wide/cluster wide overview (2 year maths strand rotation) 
  • Pitch focus problems/instruction at year level then differentiate by pushing kids up or bringing them out. 

Friday, 16 August 2019

Digital Fluency Intensive #9

Today was our final Digital Fluency Intensive, and while I am excited to get back to being in my classroom on Fridays, I am going to miss learning new things each week. I always find it beneficial to spend time with my colleagues discussing our kaupapa and learning new things from one another.  Hopefully, in the future, there will be more opportunities for me to participate in other PLGs such as this and possibly help out with future DFI cohorts.

Manaiakalani: Ubiquitous Learning
Anytime. Anywhere. Any pace. From Anyone. Ubiquitous learning makes learning different from the way it “used to be”. Learning is no longer constrained by time, place, people or pace. Children today no longer needs to take place only in school.  This is so amazing for the learning of our students who generally are exposed to 30,000,000 less words than students living in higher decile areas. The summer learning journey has proven that our students are supported ubiquitously through technology and they have made exceptional growth in their learning in many areas.

If we as teachers, make a practice of rewindable learning and make sure that they are available digitally, then we are ensuring that all of our students have the tools they need to be successful. The students who need to see something more than once will potentially allow them greater understanding.

If it’s worth Teaching, it’s worth capturing.  
If it’s worth Learning, it’s worth capturing.

Google Classroom
It was great to get a quick crash course on Google Classroom before we began our Level 1 Certification Exams. It was extremely helpful considering this is a Google App for Education that we do not use in Manaiakalani as it does not directly follow our kaupapa.

Current classes will be shown, but to create a new classroom use the plus (+) button and you can join or create a class. Create class box comes us (Name, subject, Room Number, etc)  The front page for the class becomes like a message stream showing all communication in a feed. Classwork: create assignment, quiz, question, etc and then you can attach the task from your drive. google calendar will take you out to the calendar.  To add a student, click on People. To directly add: start typing the student’s name and they will appear Google Style to add them into the database.  To have a whole class log in, the teacher can send out a code to their class.

Google Level 1 Certification

Phew!  My hands were sweaty as I pressed submit, but I finished the exam with relative ease in just about 2 hours.  However, I took another 20 minutes to review my questions, and it paid off!  It's nice to know that hard work does pay off. So thankful for the opportunity to be part of the 2019 Auckland DFI Cohort #2, and I look forward to working towards my Level 2 certification.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

What Evidence?

Describe how you will collect information about the implementation of your changed practices/intervention (so it is clear what you doing differently). (WFRC 10)

Describe how you will keep a record of each of the above in a manageable way. (WFRC 11)

We were challenged by the Wolfe Fisher team during our last CoL meeting, to spend some time thinking about how we have been recording how WE as the TEACHER have changed our own practice.

When we began the journey earlier this year, my initial focus for my inquiry was, "Using dialogic discussions to expand vocabulary usage, while strengthening reading comprehension." In order to make this happen, I have been working very hard to change my teaching practice in a few specific, yet meaningful ways:

1. Very specific purpose to our oral reading sessions. In my lesson plans (DATs), I try to specifically think about what I want to do with/focus on with each reading group prior to reading, while reading and after reading. In doing this, I am able to clearly know (and remain on task) with the literary elements/vocabulary that I am trying to work on with that group of students.

2. I have been providing student led methods of discovery for vocabulary acquisition (Deep Diving). I have been strategically spending time working through what a new word means instead of simply having students take one random guess while reading and then telling the group the true definition or modelling how to conduct a "define:" smart search.  
I now grab a piece of paper (or on the whiteboard) and write the word in a bubble before turning the pen/marker over to the group to add what they think they know about the word.  Students then asked to continue adding to the word cloud to build their understanding of the word as they continue their reading or watch the assigned video.  Students then create a digital model of the deep dive to post on their blog and link to my spreadsheet. There are also been times, when we have simply stapled the paper copy on the classroom wall. 

3. After working with the DMIC mentors, one of the things that I have been trying to pull into my teaching this year is strategically talking less while encouraging the students to talk more. I do this generally by providing them with the topic (video, paragraph, question, etc) for discussion and then providing them with 30-60 seconds of "prepare" time to formulate what they are going to share. They then have 30-90 seconds to "share" their information with a partner before we come back together and "report" back to the whole group/class.  Keeping an accurate record of this is something that I have not actually considered until this past week.

So far, as the reporting back has occurred I have created a mind map/brainstorm/note taking model for the students to use when completing future learning tasks. The notes that I put on the board are often added to or modified as more students share.  The whole class notes are photographed and put in a folder in our class Google drive.

After our PD session with Aaron and Hanna, I am now thinking that perhaps I should set up a video camera more often during my class discussions simply to capture student interactions, voice, and sharing.


Friday, 9 August 2019

Digital Fluency Intensive #8

Manaiakalani: Cybersmart
The concept of being cybersmart brings together all four areas of our kaupapa and learn, create, share. Our students have not known life without the internet. It is up to us to make sure that our students are at home in a digital environment. Our cybersmart curriculum is full of specific language that reflects how to positively set up for digital success and not the list of the negative things you should not be doing.

Our Manaiakalani Cybersmart curriculum has 10 categories that teachers work throughout every year.  In the early days, it was decided that we were not creating a cyber safety course, but a cyberSMART curriculum. Google and ISTE have also decided to now go down the path of being awesome and proactive in the cyberworld.

Manaiakalani uses the blogger platform to share student learning for many reasons. Students have agency to write their own posts, but they are only set up as an author on the blog. The direct classroom teacher is the Administrator, along with a school administrator/overseer.  Students are taught from a young age to explore the learning of others and leave comments on the posts they read in a  positive, helpful, and thoughtful manner.

Hapara Teacher Dashboard: Making Learning Visible

Hapara was developed in Manaiakalani in Manaiakalani schools that has now grown into a global company.  Hapara allows teachers to focus on the teaching, not the technology. 

One of the most powerful things you can do, is popping a dashboard screen onto your television screen without even saying anything and simply carry on teaching. The students will immediately begin jumping back into the correct place in their learning.  

The Manaiakalani 1:1 Journey
There has been a lot of careful thought and planning behind the rollout of our devices.  The discussions have been driven by the treaty (Partnership, Protection, and Participation).  Partnership is seen that we work with the family and wider community in decision making and device ownership. Manaiakalani also has partnership with a wide range of stakeholders that are key to what we are doing on a daily basis. Participation enables an environment for every student to participate in their learning, teachers are supported to be digitally fluent when all devices are the same, and engagement through device ownership. Protection happens behind the scenes, especially with our partnership with Hapara and Linewize for filtering.

We want to be sure that every learner has the best possible device at their fingertips. It was great fun having some time to explore Explain Everything on the ipad and use Chromebooks for learning/creating purposes today.

Using Screencastify
We were asked to spend some time exploring the Manaiakalani Cybersmart curriculum and using a Chromebook create a Screencastify video explaining the lesson we chose.