Monday, 19 March 2018

A Virtual Field Trip?

Last week, my students embarked on their first Virtual Field Trip through Learnz.  I initially found out about the virtual field trip program after attending a session at ULearn in 2017 (click here to see my notes from the session). 

Keeping with our school theme for the year "Kaitiakitanga i ngā wā katoa" I decided that we would try the Sustainable Seas field trip.  Unfortunately, due to the timing of the actual 'live' field trip we were unable to participate.  However, I decided that we would do it on our own the week (or two) after we returned from our year 5/6 camp. 

The students were given a slides presentation, and were asked to work in a group of 2-3, especially at the beginning of the week to complete the readings, quizzes and learning task for each.   It took them a VERY long time in the beginning to get going, but I think now that they understand the process they are enjoying working at the own pace exploring deeper into the field trip as planned. 

One of the learning tasks that I gave the students while reading each text (or watching the videos) was to list the unknown/new vocabulary words that they came across.  When stopped to discuss these words with the group, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that many of the words they chose to write down were not the ones I expected to hear.  This was awesome to see because it meant that they were using the embedded tool on the site that provided difficult (topic specific) words in a different colour.  Students are able to hover over the words and have a definition pop up on the screen immediately. 

Students were also able to listen to the text while reading along, which is an awesome tool especially for those new hard to read vocabulary words. 

Monday, 12 March 2018

Focus Group Data: Term 1

Now that our Term 1 testing has been completed, I spent some time taking a look at the data and comparing it to their scores from Term 4 last year.  I was easily able to do this for all but one student since he is new to our school this year.

This year, I will be focusing my research on a group of 7 Māori students in my literacy class (as discussed in a previous blog post).  Below is a graph showing the Reading Ages as provided by our 2017 Term 4 Running Record Data.  All of the students in my focus group are reading below grade level between 7.5 and 8.5 years of age.

One of the tests that students took last week, was the PAT-Reading Comprehension test.  Here is a comparison of their test scores from Term 4 last year (2017) to Term 1 in 2018.  The majority of the students did somewhat better on the 2018 Term 1 test, which indicates that there was not much summer drop off with my focus group of students.

Our students also sat the STAR (Supplementary test of achievement in reading) Test, which is another way for us to assess a range of our student's reading skills.  Although, the PAT shows not much drop off in the results, our STAR data clearly shows the opposite. However, I find that students who struggle with reading often decide that it is simply "too hard" and give up on the STAR test particularly in the beginning of the year.  Hopefully, this is the case and we see greater improvement during Term 4.

Lastly, as I stated in a previous post (linked here), I decided to administer an additional word recognition assessment to my focus group called the Burt Word Reading Test.  

I found the results of this test very interesting, especially when compared to the 2017 Running Record Reading ages.  The majority of the students had comparable scores on the two tests, with the exception of one student who had a drastic difference between the two test results.  When looking further, it was noticed that this student received intensive reading support during the 2017 school year, and is currently receiving a different form of support this year.