Friday, 12 March 2021

2021 Inquiry Focus

 This year, I have stepping back into a year 3/4 classroom and I have decided to take another look into reading with my students. However, the focus this time around is centered primarily on working with my students in the Orange, Tourquiose and Gold groups (Reading at a Year 2/3 level). 

In speaking with another year 4 teacher at our school during the first Covid Lockdown of 2021, we realised that we both noticed our children reading across these three levels often struggled to express opinions and ideas or deepen their thinking about a text. Generally, these students have basic decoding ability but respond to conversation with one word or short answers. They also do not choose to read without prompting. This led us to believe that the students are not engaging in a meaningful way with the range of literature required to increase comprehension to working at or above their chronological age. 

We were prompted by Rebecca’s presentation during the Manaiakalani Data Staff meeting at the beginning of the year to think about how to increase students' responsibility to think critically about what they have read. This led us to wonder how changing teacher scaffolding from supporting literal engagement with the text to supporting more open provoking questions would we be able to move the responsibility for processing the text at a deep level from the teacher to the student. We also wondered if providing more texts of high interest to the students and creating choice in this process would increase movitivation to read longer novel texts. Lastly, if we were to teach our students to use Google apps to create and share their thoughts, opinions and connections to texts in meaningful ways would that increase critical engagement with texts and support students to think deeper about what they are reading and why they are reading it. 

Ultimately we decided that our Inquiry goals for 2021 are:

1. To increase students comprehension of novel texts

2. To increase motivation to read novel texts

3. to increase discussion and critical thinking across text types

Friday, 5 March 2021

2021 Distance Teaching

Well, 2021 is officially upon us and we have already had two Covid related lockdowns in Auckland. During Week three of the term we were home for three days, and just went we thought things were getting back to a sense of normal, Auckland was placed under a Level 3 Lockdown once again.

This second time around made our team of teachers a little more confident with students being able to digitally learn from home since we had just received our Chromebooks (year 4s) and it appeared that many of our year 3 students were able to use a device at home during our first three day lockdown. So, the teachers of team 3 decided to take the advice from the Secretary for Eduation Iona Holsted who said, "it may be for many students that ensuring their teacher maintains a connection during this period is more important that going hard on learning." We decided that we would provide a different learning activity each day for students to take part in along with promoting the use of the various webtools that we were in the process of introducing during class: Sunshine Online, Epic Books, XtraMaths and Mathswhizz.

We were so excited when we hit a record 49 attendees during our Meet on Thursday. This is the maximum number of students that we can have on a Google Meet without having to purchase the new "premium" edition of Google apps for Education. This was a new dilema for us, as this maximum level of particpants was not part of the Google Meet platform during the 2020 school year. 

We are currently awaiting the Prime Minister's announcement at 4pm today to see whether or not Auckland will move back to Level 2 in time for us to start Week 6 back at school.


Our 49 person Google Meet Session