Monday, 20 May 2019

Manaiakalani Create PD

This term for our Manaiakalani staff PD, the whole cluster was invited to Tamaki College for the afternoon to spend some time engaging in a fun create task or two.  I signed up to make Vietnamese spring rolls.

We were split into groups of 4 and put into kitchens around the room to work. Each kitchen was responsible for prepping the ingredients needed to make various types of spring rolls. We were in the shrimp kitchen. My job was to cook the vermicelli noodles, dice the lettuce and then I split the prepped veges into two different serving dishes.

After learning how to prep the rice shell, we were given time to explore the various ingredients and make our own spring rolls to sample.  We had a lot of fun and I look forward to making these again in the future.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Preliminary Findings

Begin to collect evidence and data  and come to the next session ready to share your preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge i.e. using your baseline student data and evidence. (WFRC #4)

Earlier this year, I conducted a student voice survey in an effort to understand my literacy students a little bit better and to gain a deeper understanding of their reading likes/dislikes.  When looking over the survey I was pleasantly surprised to learn that of the 28 students who took the survey only 2-3 said they didn't enjoy reading and just over half of the students also put something in their answers about how they enjoy reading even more when they are able to relax and not be distracted by others.  Students indicated that they enjoy reading most in silence.

When creating the survey, I was curious how the students saw themselves as readers. So I asked the question:
I was happy to see that only 21.4% of the students in my literacy class considered themselves to be slow readers and when digging deeper I was exceptionally surprised to learn that some of those students were actually some of the more able readers in my literacy class.

Students were also asked (in short answer form) what they wanted to improve on the most in reading this year and the most common response was that they wanted to be able to read and understand "big words" the first time.  I found it very interesting that this is something that our students indicate as something they would like to work on and it is also something that we have flagged as an important area of focus for the students in our cluster. 

I have also collected and created a spreadsheet for my students that shows their test scores from Running Records, PAT, and STAR as well as their Curriculum level from the end of 2018.  I have included the data for the students in my focus group below as compared to the national scale score average.

Another piece of evidential data that I am collecting are student reading ages based on the results of the PMBenchmark Running Record kit which I will be administering during the next few weeks.  This will be compared to the data from the end of the 2018 school year to see what the student's shift in reading age is over the past 6 months. 

The last piece of data I have is found in my anecdotal teacher notes where I indicate observations that I have when reading aloud with students from my literacy class.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Words Have Power...PES Edition

Today, the teachers of Pt England had a Teacher Only Day and the last portion of our day was spent hearing from Dr. Janni van Hees. Below are my notes from our session.

Janni van Hees
April 2019
Image result for words have power

Quantities of quality text
  • The more books in a child’s life means the more talk accompany there is in their world. What type of talk accompany mileage engagement are our student’s encountering?
  • A quick explain (in the gifting zone) helps using ‘real life language’ when working with students
  • We can’t afford for too long to be at texts that are too low. Students need to be reading challenging texts routinely.
  • It isn’t just written but oral as well.
  • We need short, sharp dives into quality challenging texts.
We want our students to be capable in Language: expressing and understanding.

Children’s language and learning acquisition potential is astounding. Don’t be scared to work in the “Goldilocks” zone with kids. The ultimate achievement is uptake! They will get it because they can!
There are two ways to learn language: engagement and usage. It is important to remember quantity along with quality.
  • Other’s language available to me
  • Me trying out the language and using it
We should disproportionally provide language for the kids. We spend too much time with reading groups and not enough time with expanded opportunities for oral language

We need to be sure that we are optimising learning conditions by allowing a flourishing learner potential for learning and language.
We need to Deep Dive in Action.Image result for deep dive

Say more and talk with detail. (My COL blog post using this)
-Use words and ideas that gift your learners knowledge and words. (YOU-Teacher)
-Use words and ideas so your audience knows what you mean (STUDENTS)
-Use words and ideas that gift your child knowledge and words (Families)
**When talking about the detail focus on talking the detail not necessarily focusing on how, what, when, why, etc. Focus on the details the students present.

Adding detail doesn’t make something more interesting. It allows your reader to see exactly what you mean.


Today the teacher's of Pt England had a teacher's only day and we spent the morning hearing from DMIC Don. It was a great session refocusing our mindset on various elements of DMIC Instruction. Below are my notes from that session. 

April 2019

All the things we already know about maths (including follow up tasks and content knowledge) does not change with DMIC. Strengths with behaviour management and key competencies does not change. All that changes is the delivery of the mathematical content.

Complex Instruction
  • Promotes a different way of understanding of how people learn
  • A different image of what it means to understand a mathematical idea
    • Norms
    • Accountability
    • Grouping
Builds on the idea that learning is complex, and that the learners all bring different ideas and understandings to a problem, which make sense of the learning challenge it presents in multiple ways.
  • Standing back and observing from a distance
  • Provides opportunity for students to show what they know
  • Teacher is able to pull from student interactions for sharing back
Social and Academic Status

In GI, the community values, family, inclusion, reciprocal relationships, leadership (church, chief, school), family/culturally centered events, sports)

-confidence (DMIC; NO hands up….keep the control on the teacher not on the confident child who continually volunteers)

Assigned Value?

- English has more assigned value than other languages.
-non-fluent English speakers do not have the same competencies as those of native English speakers
-Asians are always good at maths
-Status at PES is often determined by those who are/are not able to self-regulate and use language to accurately express themselves.

Status GeneralisationHelps us understand how the characteristics between people differ and how they are pooled so that status is allotted
  • Status is local and changes within settings
  • Status differences in classrooms reflect those of wider society
  • Many local status characteristics derive from the school and class culture
  • Children watch and interpret teacher’s actions to see what is valued?
The effect of status
When students work in small groups the differences in status (not strengths or motivation) shapes who talks, who others listen to, and who’s ideas direct what decisions are made.

It is better to consider students as having low status instead of low kids, low achievers, struggling students because this means teachers will look for more effective ways to open up the maths for all students.

What does being “smart in maths” means?
-How can we build this into our classroom culture?
-Why do we listen? Focus on listening to understand

Presenting back: Roles need to be defined as things that need to be done. However, student involvement in presenting back needs to be fluid. Every student should be presenting at some point during the talk back.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Building an Accurate Student Learning Profile

Describe the tools/measures/approaches you plan to use to get a more detailed and accurate profile of students’ learning in relation to that challenge. Justify why you chose these approaches and tools. (WFRC #4)

When thinking about my inquiry this year, the tools/measures/approaches that I plan to use to help portray and accurate profile of student learning in relation to vocabulary acquisition strengthening reading comprehension and promoting student led dialogic conversations are:

1.  Student survey: My hope is that by asking my students to help paint a reading profile of themselves, (likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, etc) I will be able to hopefully plan the best reading tasks/genres/topics and have an idea of where to focus my lessons to help build student interest in a topic

2. PAT Scores: This paints a very quick picture for me as the teacher (and for my students when we go over the results together, which I hope to do early in Term 2) of a student's strengths and weaknesses. It also allows for a clear picture of student achievement at the end of of the year when combined with other data collection.

3. STAR Test Scores: This test allows for a picture of current vocabulary usage to be made for each student. Combined with the PAT test at the end of the year, it contributes to the clear picture of student achievement as well. 

4. BURT Word Recognition Test: After administering this test last year, I realised what an easy tool it is to administer and how it also contributes to that picture of student achievement.  Going through this with the students and allowing them to see what they were able to achieve now and at the end of the year is a quick indicator for them of the daily words they are able to recognise while reading.

5. Running Records: By administering Running Record tests, I am able to see firsthand what an individual's issues are when decoding/comprehending a text.

6. Teacher Observation/Group Interactions: I try to keep adequate anecdotal notes when working with my reading groups. I have begun to keep an "oral reading" log where I quickly note things I notice during our reading sessions in addition to my normal teacher plan reflections. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Say More. Tell the Detail.

As part of our CoL meeting last week, we heard from Dr. Janni van Hees and she shared with us some practical ways to get our kids using higher level vocabulary.  One of the strategies she shared with us was referred to as Say More. Tell the Detail.

I decided to try this strategy with my Literacy class this week with the hope of linking the concept to our writing assignment from last week.

Dr. van Hees suggested showing students a simple statement like:

A bird flew into our house.

After showing this to the class, have a discussion about what else we could include as the author to allow the reader to understand (and see) exactly what the author was trying to say. Then, show them this improved paragraph. 

A bird flew into our house. We had a window open and it just flew in. It was super scared 'cos it felt trapped.

Taking this concept into consideration, I knew from the writing samples I had recently scored that many of my students were not including detail of this type in their writing. I have also observed that my students were not used to sharing colourful language when brainstorming and looking at a picture before they begin writing. As a result, I decided to focus my writing lesson this week on painting a picture with our words. 

We began by looking at this picture and sentence:
The sun low over the horizon
I saw the sun.

I then asked the class what else they wanted to know.  They came up with things like, 
  • When did you see the sun?
  • Where did you see the sun?
  • How did you see the sun?
We then discussed ways that we could add personification to the description and what other descriptive words they could use when talking about this picture.

We pulled together this list:

  • When: On my way to school this morning
  • Where: over the river
  • How: rays through the clouds
  • Figurative Language: Personification the sun is greeting me
  • Descriptive words (adjectives): *sparkling river  *bright rays *morning sun
Then, we were able to construct the following detailed sentence.

This morning, on my way to school, I looked over the sparkling river and saw the bright rays of the morning sun shining through the clouds to greet me as I started my day.

Students have been provided with three more pictures to consider while making sentences that paint a picture. I am hoping as a result of this we will begin to see words and phrases from the Goldilocks zone emerge when we are brainstorming for our digital word bank prior to starting our writing tasks each week.

COL PD: Words Have Power

As part of our second COL meeting this term, we spent some time with Dr. Janni van Hees exploring the power that words have and considering ways that we can optimise the words on the page to increase student understanding.

Image result for Power of words
Dr. Janni van Hees

What’s on your mind? One of the strong issues arising are our language meaning making strategies.

Growing our Language Capabilities
Vocabulary through Written and Oral Print

Our Manaiakalani Key Focus: Languaging Learning (2019) from Lanugage Abundance (2018)
-Learning is carried on a sea of language
-Discovering the common language
-Ultimately allowing students to be empowered

Optimising Learning Conditions: Allows for the uptake of the language available. These are things that the students need to do and be aware of when in their learning groups.

-Focus and notice
-Put in the effort
-Take part (participate) fully
-Push myself to the edge
-Dig deep for what I already know
-Notice and focus (Learn from others)
-I share (others learn from me)
-Think and talk, think and need
-Wondering and Asking

This is very similar to the DMIC approach of setting up Class Norms for students to adhere to in order to be successful

Are our students reading deeply enough while being extended enough?-What can we put the lens on?
-Only some learners speak in my classroom when we are learning together
-Question: What is the environment that I have created for responding to the text/question/situation? (What is the culture? Hands??thinking and sharing???)

Point to Ponder: If we across the CoL, have Deep Diving, we are providing quantities of quality texts while increasing noticing of vocabulary and knowledge basis will we be able to see the increase in student achievement. We must provide ways to scaffold understanding so that they drip with understanding.