Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Preliminary Findings

 I started my data journey by analysing my target groups beginning of year STAR and PAT reading comprehension tests. I am always interested in find out raw scores (how many questions were actually answered correctly), the scale scores and stanines. Here are the results of my target group.

Unfortunately we had a technical glitch which didn't allow Student G1 to complete her test in order to generate a mark. 

One of the things I always find fascinating in analysing students test results is to look at their raw scores. How many questions our of the 37/38 questions in the test, did they actually get correct. As shown in the table above, only half the students managed to get more than 10 questions correct.

It's important to also note that the students whose test was out of 37 questions sat a slightly easier test that the rest who had 38 questions. This was because the students had already been identified as high needs in reading and writing in general. 

Another source of data gathering I conducted was collecting student voice. The list of questions and answers will be discussed in my next blog post.

My weekly reflections have been very useful. I have used my groups modelling books to take notes of vocab/attempts students have made as well as ideas being shared. This was to initially help with report writing comments coming up later in the term, but I've also found upon reflection that it works with my next steps for some students. 

One of the things which I didn't count on was having a student teacher. This meant I had 2 weeks of observing while she taught my classes. This gave me an opportunity to get some 1-1 time with my target learners, unpacking some of their thinking processes and ideas around school and reading in particular. This also will be discussed together with the student voice survey carried out.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Historic Hikoi with Nagti Paoa

 I can hand on heart say this was one of the most powerful, insightful, greatest learning experience I've had in my 15 years of teaching. As part of our partnership with Ngati Paoa, our teachers at Pt England experienced a part 2 session with Hayden and Crystal with a historic hikoi to certain sites around the area which told stories of how things came about for them as people of Ngati Paoa.

Here is a map of our trek on Thursday 1st April.

There were many favourite parts to the day but one I did find fascinating was listening to the battles which happened at Mokoia. Learning about the different Taniwha's and where the name Mokoia derived from - Mokoikahikuwaru. Another exciting part I look forward to is the building of the Marae at Te Whanake - Just next to the Pt England Reserve now. Just listening to the stories and making connections with names I've heard before and getting to know the history behind street names and historical sites. So much to take in! I cannot wait to share this same experience with our learners! Well worth the sore feet at the end of the day! Thank you to everyone involved in making this day possible.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Tools, Measures & Approaches

Building an accurate profile of students' learning - tools, measures and approaches...

Describe the tools/measures/approaches you plan to use to get a more detailed and accurate profile of students’ learning in relation to that challenge. Justify why you chose these approaches and tools.

Kahui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Increase the achievement of Years 7-10, in reading, writing and maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets.

My inquiry problem/ challenge: Year 7 and 8 students who are 'stuck' at the reading ages of 8-9 years old.  Some of the problems I've been faced with already are the types of reading material available for this reading age, but not suitable or interesting enough for this age group (11, 12, 13 year olds).

To measure how much 'new knowledge' or reading strategies students are learning or picking up, I plan to use the following tools and approaches:

PAT/STAR/e-asTTle/ARBs/Running records:

I plan to analyse the PAT closely and group the types of questions students struggled on. STAR is a great indicator of sentence structures and vocabulary acquisition and meaning. This can be done 1-1 with students who have completed the STAR test. Filling the gaps is a great task to work out sense making, if learners even know what a grammatically correct sentence sounds like.

Use of e-asttle mini tests and ARBs will also be beneficial for testing out specific reading strategies/comprehension skilss taught in short weeks. This can be done as a before and after mini test. 

Running Records can be of use when you are wanting to take note of particular reading behaviours. These are very useful using the PM readers up to Level 30.

Student Voice:

This has been very useful and informative in my past inquiries as sometimes the way you think the lesson went doesn't always match up with how students feel. Gaining student voice before, during and after an intervention in a great way to gauge whether something is working, and students are interested in what they are learning.

Plan/Reflect Weekly: 

This is very important to carry out as well as monitor. Plan on how I will go about the intervention, then reflect each week on whether it needs changing or if it on the right track. Completing reflections straight after a reading lesson can sometimes be difficult so jotting down notes to self on the modelling sheets or on the board with student initials as students are learning will be great in helping to gather evidence at reflection time.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Who are my Learners?

 My target group consist of 8 Year 7&8 students who's reading ages range from 8 - 9 years old. 5 girls and 3 boys.

G1 - Year 8 currently reading at 8.5 years old. She attends class regularly and looks like she pays attention. Upon group check ins, most of the time she has sat there doing nothing. Her reading is very static, and often needs to repeat after me to hear a more fluent sentence.

G2 - Year 7 currently reading at 8.5 years old. She is able to decode fluently but often does not take in what she is reading. We've had multiple tries at re-reading or scanning a text for key words we discuss in group time.

G3 - Year 7 currently reading at 8.5 years old. She comes off as quite confident in group situations. However when reading 1-1, she reverts back to doubting herself and comprehending what she has just read.

G4 - Year 8 currently reading at 8.5 years old. A second language learner to English. She has only been in our NZ schooling system for 2 years. Very confident with playground language, but struggles forming her ideas about a text. She decodes very well and can sound out unknown words confidently. 

G5 - Year 8 currently reading at 9 years old. She is able to complete set tasks but can totally miss the mark with comprehension questions at times. Literal questions are simple for her but anything to do with opinions or providing supporting evidence she tends to get confused with.

B1 - Year 8 currently reading at 8 years old. A second language learner to English, he made great shifts in 2020 from a reading age of 5.9 to 8 by the end of the year. He is currently already 13 years old turning 14 this year.

B2 - Year 7 currently reading at 9 years old. He tends to rush through a lot of things from tasks to reading. But when asked to slow down, he struggles to put into words the work he is struggling with. Vocabulary acquisition is a big thing for him. He often forgets a lot of new vocab from day to day group discussions. 

B3 - Year 8 currently reading at 9 years old. A second language learner to English, he moved made a whole years shift from 8-9 years old in 2020. He is more able this year in navigating his way independently through his learning. His reading and writing make more sense, and he normally helps out B1 with his daily tasks. 

This here is a brief summary about my target group this year. There are 2 more students in this group but for tracking purposes, I have purposely left them out due to frequent absenteeism. 

Later on this term, I hope to have a more complete profile of my learners using student voice survey, as well as academic data from beginning of year tests. 

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Inquiry focus 2021

 Starting the year with provocations from Rebecca Jesson always get be excited for the teaching and learning journey for the year ahead. As part of our Manaiakalani cluster report for 2020, it was very clear what we needed to work on: Reading and Maths.

My 2020 inquiry looked at maths and helped me pick out just a few surface reasons why nearly half my class was failing in maths. Unfortunately, due to covid, we didn't get to unpack this inquiry into any deeper level of understanding due to the limited face to face time, and sharing of equipment when we did return back to school.

This year I would like to have another go at tackling reading. I inquired into reading in 2019 and this was a huge success. The difference then was that I was focussing on the very tip of the tail students, and finding ways to fill in some of the huge gaps very fast. A lot of them simply needed age appropriate texts at a lower reading level.

As CoL members, we are looking to work collaboratively to strengthen our inquiry in terms of what we are trialling and also sharing ideas with a collective rather than on our own. For this I am hoping to work with Kelsey Parrant and maybe one other member looking at students 'stuck' at the reading ages 8 - 9.5. Kelsey being in year 5/6 and my class being year 7/8. 

I look forward to our inquiry focus this year. 

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Bursts and Bubbles

Talofa Lava This years Bursts and Bubbles was held at Pt England school. It’s been a year filled with new changed and adapting to life on the go with 2 lockdowns and distance learning taking place of face to face teaching. The following is my script I presented during Bursts and Bubbles.

Inquiry focus:
  • How can we combine ‘best practice’ approaches to cater to students 3-4 years behind in maths.
  • 2 catalytic aspects of learning I targeted are:
  • Co-constructing task descriptions for blog posts
  • Balancing independent learning and group work through the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy as clearly evident in reading and writing, but not so evident in maths.
Why? This all came about through dialogue with the target group discussing previous maths content covered, but not being able to find it on their blogs. They shared that there is no time to blog, and no clear ‘create’ task like in reading and writing especially when we have group time.

Identified this as my focus when I noticed:
  • Out of 27 students in my class, 22 were working below the standard.
  • Of the 22 target group - 12 were operating Well Below standard. That is Y7/8 students working at a Late Y3 - Early Y5 level in maths.
To build a rich picture of my students learning I:
  • Looked through their blogs
  • Pre and post tests
  • Talked to them - student voice

Sources of data & evidence used to measure progress:
  • PAT scale score data
  • Quality and quantity of blog posts related to maths
  • Student voice surveys & face to face discussions

Main patterns of student learning identifies in the profiling phase:
Interested in learning more maths - hard but willing to learn
Things looking familiar even if not concrete
Students engaged. Didn’t need buyin, just explaining and showing enough to understand learning
Blogging - whole term 1 blog for maths

Profiling my own teaching showed I had strengths in:
Group work
Providing relevant and relatable word problems
Breaking down learning

Found students would make more progress if I developed a scaffolded self-sufficient routine for learning. This required:
Providing balanced independent and group work consistently throughout week
Providing 3 levels of support for low, middle and high levelled learners.

Changes I made to my teaching were:
Time for plenary at the end of lessons
Time to blog
Providing writing frame to explain their learning
Co-constructing task descriptions with learners

Experts and literature which have helped me make these changes:
Blog posts tracking our 2 year DMIC PD
Refresher course of Manaiakalani’s Learn, create, share pedagogy
In school PD for maths

Overall - Considering the year we’ve had with distance learning, there were many adjustments along the way. Group work became mainly independent learning and 1-1 sessions with the teacher.
A few interesting facts came out of this experience too seeing the correlation between those who made shifts and those who actively participated in distance learning.

Evidence is in: Of my group of 22, after the first lockdown this went down to 20 due to class sizes and distancing students in class.
1 student = shifted 4 sub levels up
3 students = shifted 2 sub levels up
14 students = made the expected 6months progress shifting up 1 sub level
2 students = made no shift at all

So to round it off:
Of the 20 students @ start of year 8 = Below, 12 = well belowNow we have just 7 well below, 12 now below, and 1 student is now AT the expected level for their year level.

Monday, 3 August 2020

School Wide Reading Inquiry

This year, we have split our school-wide focus in 2 parts. The first half of the year we looked at Maths and our PD was focused on that. So my CoL inquiry is based around my maths learners. If you would like to check that out, click on this link here --> TAI2020.

This second half the year we are looking at Reading. Rather than change my inquiry, I am aiming to keep track of both. The aim of our reading PD is to make sure we are using the same language, strategies, and understanding when we talk about 'learning to read' across the school from Years 1 to 8. 

To start, we selected a target group that we would work closely with and implement and track the teaching strategies discussed in our PD. Here is my target group I've selected.
The first week of school we observed our students and how they attempted difficult words. Because our first focus is on "learning to read" we were to observe the behaviours/strategies students showed when faced with difficult words. Above are my findings for my target group.

These next two weeks, we are all going to implement (or carry on) Gwyneth Phillips 1st reading prompt. This focusses on students recognising that they had made an error. Here is the prompt we are working on this week. Stay tuned for more prompts and progress reports to come.