Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Through the Eyes of a Child: A Success Story

This year, I have been inquiring into extending prior knowledge and critical thinking, while promoting dialogic conversations when working with Year 4 students who are reading At/Above their grade level.

One of the students in my class, ended the school year in 2016 with a reading age of 8 years.  This put her "at" the National Standard for Year 3, but it placed her in my middle group for term 1.  This was the group that was working with a very basic version of reading wider and deeper into our cluster wide Inquiry Te Taiao o Tamaki.

However, as the term progressed, it was evident that this beautiful girl was ready to take control of her learning and she was one of the very first to begin working on her assignments from a home computer at night and on the weekends.

As a class, we began reading a few times a week from chapter books, and sharing short summaries on our blogs.  I did not focus on the actual writing of the summary, but really just wanted to get them sharing and talking about what they were reading.  I believe having the freedom to share has helped her discover her own voice when sharing.

As term 2 rolled around, and our beginning of the year testing results came out, she showed tremendous growth, and began reading with the group that was my CoL focus group.  She immediately was able to jump right in and it only took a few weeks to get her to begin talking and sharing her ideas with the rest of the group. This is one area that she has grown tremendously in this year.  

Her progress has continued to be seen in class on a daily basis, and she has become one of the leaders in my focus group...even though she is not part of the actual "focus group of 7."

When looking at her testing data, it is quite interesting to note that she had the exact same Scale Score (33.8 +/- 4) at the beginning and the end of the year, and her STAR Scale Score only increased slightly (from 89.2 +/- 4.5 to 89.9 +/- 3.6).  However, her Running Record Reading Age has increased from 8 years at the end of 2016 to 10.5 years at the end of Term 3 2017.   

She has made 2.5 years accelerated shift in her reading age!

While I am celebrating this, I am also considering some key areas of growth that she will need to continue in as she progresses through to Year 5 next year.  

*Continuing to increase in her confidence when sharing what she has read with others.  
*Making connections across texts and looking deeper into a subject when more clarification is necessary (or personal intrigue prompts)
*Confidently sharing her opinion on a subject and backing it up with related information from within a text. 

CoL Achievement Challenge #3: A Closer Look

A Quick Glance at my Focus Group

It's that time of year.  Everyone is obsessing over their data as they prepare for marking end of the year reports. 

This year, I find myself taking a step back and reflecting on the small, yet meaningful steps I have taken in order to open the pathways of dialogic discussion with my literacy students.  I am so proud of my original focus group.  They have all made 1.5-3 years of progress during the first three terms of the school year.  They are more confident when sharing their thoughts and ideas with their learning group, and they are able to ask a thoughtful question about what they have read. Many students are spending time independently reading deeper by conducting their own Google search into the answer to their question(s).

Monday, 6 November 2017

Celebrating Accelerated Shift for ONE Maths Learner in 2017

Dorothy Burt: Visibility Enables Accelerated Shift

"Visibility Accelerates Accelerated Shift" 
-Woolf Fisher Research Centre

Today, during our PES Staff Meeting, we had Dorothy Burt come in for our Term 4 Manaiakalani PD.   Here are a few of my notes from what she shared with us prior to having some time to reflect on the shift in our own maths class. 

Just as Manaiakalani's Learn, Create, Share cannot be done without the other, our Kaupapa: Connected, Ubiquitous, Empowered, Visible needs all four parts to be successful.

What is the #1 Factor Influencing Student Achievement? -According to John Hattie, it is definitely: Collective Teacher Efficacy! 

As a school, we identified Maths as our 2017 focus for our collaborative inquiries. 

-School Inquiry: School/Department/Individual Teacher
-External Inquiry: Woolf Fisher Research Centre, Auckland University
-Teacher Inquiry: Teachers Inquiring into their own practice and learner outcomes. 

This led to us having some time to spend celebrating accelerated shift for ONE learner in our 2017 Maths class.  Click here to see my "Impact Burst" post.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Presenting at the 2017 Manaiakalani Wananga

The annual Manaiakalani Wananga was held today at Pt. England School for all of the principals and school leaders from the schools across Manaiakalani and the Outreach Clusters

I was asked to present, along with a panel of teachers representing the Manaiakalani CoL, what we have been doing this year as we conduct our Collaborative CoL Inquiry into our own teaching practice.  Each of the presenters represented one of the Manaiakalani CoL Achievement Standards that our CoL teachers and Manaiakalani schools are Inquiring into.

Introducing myself to the Wananga participants. 
2017 Wananga
I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my Inquiry and I feel that every time I present, I feel less nervous and a little bit more confident sharing in front of a large group.  This year, I have discovered that this Inquiry process quickly makes something you considered out of reach a year ago your daily normal. You become so invested in the Inquiry process and what you see as successful that you forget that everyone else has not walked every step of the way with you. When given the opportunity to present, I thoroughly enjoy the verbal (and non-verbal) response you receive from those in attendance as you share your small steps, trials and triumphs, and of course it's always fun to receive one or two "Cheehoo's" in our Pasifika community.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Term 4: Maths Inquiry Update

This term, I plan to continue using the strategies that we discussed with Jo during our Term 3 Professional Development.  However, as we move towards preparing our students for their end of the year testing, I am also placing more of a focus on problem solving and small group discussions.  This is a very difficult thing for the students in my class for a variety of reasons.  Some find the actual text of the story problem difficult to understand and unpack, and others have a difficult time deciding which problem solving method to use.  This generally results in reverting back to the easiest method that they have been doing for the longest period of time (skip counting, counting on, etc).  Unfortunately, this means that they are not progressing when they are tested even though they are able to use some higher level thinking to solve problems.  

The students in my class are still trying to break through the confidence barrier.  This means that we are spending a lot of time discussing problems and helping our friends understand how to do something using their in class learning assignments, MathsWhizz and micro-learning group sessions.