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.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Reflecting on my Teacher Practice

TAI 2020 WFRC #8: Self Reflection...
Plan and conduct detailed inquiry into specific aspects of your current teaching that are relevant to the hypotheses you identified in the literature. Inquiring into your teaching should give you:

Formative information about your current strengths and areas for development
Baseline information that you can use at the end of the year to provide evidence of shifts in teachingUse multiple tools such as self- or peer-observations, analysis of your class site, student voice.

One of the specific areas of my teaching practice I looked into was how I was conveying the learning intention to the students. How well did they receive this? Did they take it in? what evidence do I have that reflects whether or not students understood the learning?

Before purposeful intervention: The structure of my lessons went like this:
Warm up game related in some way to our learning intention
Share learning intention with the class
Watch related video together
Explain whole class task - pull out 1 group at a time to work with while the rest of the class are completing whole class task.
We normally work right up to the bell time leaving 3-4minutes to pack up at the end. 
A normal maths lesson lets me see 2 groups thoroughly working through different problems from the ones set for the whole class. This is then followed by 1-1 check ups with students who are maybe off task or who I feel have not grasped the mathematical concept being learnt.

Upon reflection, and breaking down my lessons so that I could review what I was currently doing and what needed change, I realised there was no room in my maths lesson where I checked back in with students about the learning intention for that lesson. I also gave no allocated time for students to construct the task description that goes with their learning up on their blogs. 

This gave me a good lead for questioning that I was able to conduct with my learning through a student survey. Students were simply expected to get their learning on their blog when they've completed the task. There was no clear understanding about which learning that was: whether it be the teacher session they had with me or the slides they completed independently.  This I noted down quickly on the board as a reminder for what I needed to change, and make time for in each maths lesson.

One piece of evidence I used to collect this data were the students blogs. I am using students blog posts about maths to see the effectiveness of my purposeful change in maths program, allowing students time to create a maths blog during the maths session, co-constructing the task description with learners (and therefore revisiting the learning intention and constructing a success criteria together), and clear expectations of what maths can be posted. This can be their working out, the teacher session, how they used materials or their completed slides. 

My next steps will be to get a colleague to observe me and take note on the following things:
1. The structure of the lesson
2. How many times I refer back to the learning intention
3. Opportunities for students to share their learning/thinking - whether it is in groups, working with a buddy, or on their blogs.
4. Co-construction of task description/success criteria

If you are reading this and feel there is something else that would benefit my inquiry and can be observed please leave us a comment and I'd like to include that in my observation.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

How I will use the data

TAI 2020 WFRC #6: How I will use the data...

Explain how some of the data you have used to build a profile of the students’ learning will be used as baseline data at the end of the year.

In my data gathering process, the pieces of data which gave me greatest insight to student learning and behaviours around mathematics was the analysis of blog posts. Although it didn't give me precise levels in terms of data, it did leave a gap as to where all their learning for the term/year goes. The lack of blog posts followed up by the student survey as to why there were so few blogs about their maths learning revealed these things:
  • Students did not feel the same expectation (flow, cycle of learning - Learn, Create, Share) that they felt in literacy. Therefore this resulted in maths work left sitting in their drive.
  • Similar to this, students felt maths did not follow a certain routine everyday. Some days you had hands on learning with materials, some you worked independently on slides and some you were with the teacher a lot of the time doing group work on modelling paper. 
So how do I plan on using the data I've collected?

1. Analysing students PAT test scores will help target certain questions/areas in maths majority of students are getting wrong. 11 students from my target got less than 10 of the 41 questions in the PAT test. This can attended to looking at the common areas to focus teaching.

2. Student voice surveys keep me informed about the changes taking place and also how students feel about the learning and changes taking place. This is given anonymously so students feel more confident sharing their true feelings about maths.

3. Blog post analysis. This data has definitely been an eye opener for me as a teacher and will structure my maths program to allow time at the end to talk about and share their learning for the day/week. 

At the end of the year, it will be great to see if there is shift in the number of questions students are getting correct, therefore their scale scores and stanines will also increase. For our student voice surveys, what I'll be looking for is that students are becoming more aware of just what they are learning about in maths and also have an opinion/preference for the style of learning which will enable them to learn better. My hope is that this will come out in the student voice surveys carried out throughout the year. Blog posts should see a climb in the number of maths blog posts going up. From here, we can then focus on the quality of blog posts and the task description explaining their learning for the week.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Nature and Extent of Student Challenge Part 1

TAI 2020 WFRC #5: Nature and Extent of the Student Challenge...

Share your findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge. Make sure it is clear what evidence from your inquiry supports each finding.

The challenge for my students this year is to make accelerated progress in Maths. 

One of the ways I planned on keeping track of students was through their maths blog. Because of Covid-19 and lockdown, this messes up our data a bit so I feel the need to first off compare students blog posts data pre and post Covid. This looked at how often students posted their maths work up onto their blogs in Term 1 (Pre Covid) and Term 2 (Distance Learning). Along with this data, we also need to take into account the number of times students actually tuned in to distance learning by turning up to our Google Meets twice a day. That is at least 1 maths meet a day = 12 Google meets for the 5 weeks of distance learning. 

Here is the data comparing Term 1 Maths Blog Posts and Term 2 Maths Blog Posts.

This made me look closer at why students hadn't put as many maths work on their blogs. Whether it was time restraints or not doing the work. What this did point out for me, was that I wasn't seeing enough of my students completed work than I should. Group work was about as far as I got in terms checking in on students learning. When you crunch the numbers, theres are 10 weeks in a term. There is at least 1 set of slides which houses students learning tasks for each week. When they are working with the teacher, they normally have a modelling book they are working in. The expectation was that they are taking a photo of this and posting it on their blogs in order to explain what their learning was about for that day.
The above data clearly shows this was not happening before and after Covid.
Student P is a regular blogger and this is shown in the stats. However, Student A, E, K and V have no blog posts related to maths for the first half of this year. I am sitting here right now asking how can that be? what have they been doing in class each day? There is no record on their blogs of the learning which took place. A big eye opener and one I will be addressing straight away.

Although this wasn't the actual challenge my students faced, this is definitely a wake up call for myself and my students and make this change straight away.
I'll have another Part 2 to this post to address the 'challenge' part of this more.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Preliminary Findings

TAI 2020 WFRC #4: Collecting evidence and data...

Begin to collect evidence and data and come to the next session ready to share your preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge i.e. using your baseline student data and evidence

One of my takeaways from CoL last year was to have a larger pool of target students. Depending on what your inquiry is, this is sometimes not ideal. However, in looking at my students data, I realise I can actually have a larger target group which give me more concrete data on whether interventions are working or not. 

Before we went into lockdown, I'd only just started collating data on my whole and had not actually informed students I would be tracking them. Therefore I also didn't get a chance to get student voice from Term 1. I am planning on sending out a google form to get student voice while we are still doing distance learning in Term 2.

Out of my 27 maths students, I'm selecting 22 as my pool of target students. They range from levels late year 3 to late year 6. Here are their OTJ's (Overall Teacher Judgements) from 2019 reports and this year 2020 PAT results analysis.
An overall view of how this particular group of students look using stanines is below.
Throughout this inquiry process, I am hoping to shift these bars to the right with a higher number of students achieving stanine 5 and higher.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Tools, Measures and Approaches

TAI 2020 WFRC #3: 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: Students who are 3-4 years behind in math. Combining a variety of best practice approaches to find best mix towards accelerating students who are 3-4 years behind in math.

My challenge with this is that we've just finished 2 years of DMIC (Developing Mathematical Inquiring Communities). Some kids really grasped and grew from this approach and some kids were put off with math altogether. This did not help those students who were already behind in math.

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


  • I plan to analyse the PAT closely and group the types of questions students struggled on. Ikan and Gloss tests would be great indicators to how well they are retaining and picking up strategies and number knowledge. These combined, will give me a clear picture of exactly where students are in their learning and identify the gaps.
  • Use of e-asttle mini test will also be beneficial for strand in getting pre and post test data.
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 math 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 as reflection time.