Monday, 20 February 2017

Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher

Today was our first day meeting as the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) cohort.  We had a wonderful day meeting together at the Spark building in Auckland, NZ sharing what we have defined as a problem that we are going to inquire into.  We also spent some time identifying possible hypotheses as to why this is a problem area for our students.

Problem Defined:
How can we extend prior knowledge and critical thinking in an effort to promote dialogic conversations in year 4 students who are reading at/above grade level?

Possible Hypotheses:
Students have not been given the freedom (in earlier years) to explore further on their own into aspects of their text/topic that spark interest.
  • Students are not equipped with how to further explore a topic of interest from their text.
  • Students need to be taught how to manage their time appropriately in order to complete learning tasks.
  • Teachers are not definite on when to shift the focus of learning from decoding to reading for content and formulating deeper understanding from exposure to multimodal texts.
  • Teachers are afraid of the time commitment needed in order the plan for extended reading lessons that go deeper for understanding.  
  • Teachers are unsure where to look for age appropriate reading material.

Planned Innovation:
What would be the best way to compile a cross-cluster database to house texts linked by topic according the reading level?

Evidence of Need:
According to the Wolf Fisher Research Centre, our students learn by talking about what they are learning (dialogic conversations).  These conversations are mostly effective when students have a deeper understanding of a topic from being exposed to multimodal texts.  

Data Gathered:
  • Student PAT and STAR results-Nov 2016 
  • Student PAT and STAR results-Feb 2017
  • Running Records-Nov 2016 
  • 2016 Teacher OTJ-Reading
  • Reading previous student Blog posts 
  • In class micro group discussions


  1. Hi Angela

    I have been looking at how you have identified the problem and needs for your students. The labels were useful as they organised your ideas into groups which made it easier to read. My inquiry is similar to yours in that we are both inquiring into how dialogic conversations will help to improve critical thinking skills. Thanks for sharing your inquiry.


    1. Thanks Ms Sandy! I have really enjoyed all of the conversations we have been able to have this year involving our Inquiries and where are are going with the students. I am so excited to see how the students I have this year do with you next year with your seminars!