Monday, 17 September 2018

Expanded Vocabulary Usage

When planning for our reading groups during the past few weeks, we have been focusing on new ways to provide students with ways to utilise what they already know to further their understanding of unknown words.

We trialed it first with our students reading in the 9-9.5 instruction range and we used an assignment created by my teaching partner (Hannah West) as a follow up task for students reading the School Journal text "The Butterfly Project."  Students were first asked to look at a word in the context of the story and write what they thought it meant.  Students were then asked to look at a sentence from the story and replace indicated words with words that meant the same thing.

After seeing the success of this task, we decided to trial a similar version with our students reading at 8.5 years this week. Students were asked to replace indicated words in five sentences taken from the story with alternate words that have the same meaning.

Our hope is by providing independent tasks similar to these, at this level, our students will be able to think about the words they are reading and make meaning and inference at a deeper level.

Monday, 10 September 2018

What kinds of activities are common among teenagers who work well with others?

During our July CoL Meeting we were asked to read the article "What kinds of activities are common among teenagers who work well with others?"  (OECD Publications)  Below is a summary of my thoughts and take away information from that article.

  • Schools are social places where students "hone the interpersonal skills required to function" in society
    • At our school, we often begin teaching this through "The Pt. England Way"
    • Many students are struggling with the 'expected' social skills of their everyday environment in contrast with those of the school and then ultimately the workplace
  • Student problem solving and collaborative skills are now looked at in formal testing situations and when seeking adequate paying employment opportunities
  • NZ students (along with Japan, USA, Australia, Singapore and Korea) score among the highest in the world when working collaboratively to problem solve
    • They are among the best at working with others worldwide
  • While students who are more physically active score better when collaboratively problem solving, they do not see a difference when simply collaborating in general in other areas
    • However, students who participate in after school activities like: online video games, hanging with friends/talking on phone, helping around the home enjoyed teamwork activities
    • Those who assessed social, chat or internet networks did not enjoy working collaboratively
In conclusion, it is important to note that students should be encouraged to participate in activities outside of school, especially those including household chores, family conversations, less time gaming,  and physical activities.   

I find this finding quite reaffirming for what I would consider to be simple common sense. However, I feel that there is definitely a need for this to be made into a publicly researched topic since there are so many households in the world that are allowing their children to participate in activities that limit social interactions and do not promote family interactions. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

A Team Approach

During our Week 6 Staff Meeting, we spent some time looking at our reading data trends in our own classrooms and then discussed what we were seeing across the team.  It was definitely apparent (as I questioned in my previous blog post "Mid-Term 3 Shift Update") that we have a large number of students across our Year 5/6 team (of six teachers) that are instructionally reading between the ages of 8.5-9.5.

We broke up into groups of two (a year 5 and a year 6 teacher) to consider 5 main areas when planning for the students reading at that level.  I was paired with a year 6 teacher, Migi Sio, and this is what we came up with.

When we shared back with the remainder of our team, it was very surprising to hear that most of us chose a very similar WALT to focus on (simply worded differently).

A next step for me will be discussing this further with my teaching partner, Hannah West, to determine how we will be implementing this focus in our learning space.