Monday, 30 July 2018

Teaching with high expectations

Today we had a staff meeting run by Michelle about high expectations. 
Firstly we watched this video - 

then we had to sort pieces of paper into two groups - what we expect of (or do towards) low and high achieving students.

Left - low achieving. 
Right - high achieving. 
The middle pile - both.

These are the ones myself and my buddy didn't like/agree with/didn't want to put into the graph. I personally had an issue with "demand more or less work or effort of..." because the expectation of work for my very low and very high students are completely different. With students like that, you aren't comparing oranges and oranges, even oranges and apples. You are comparing oranges and bread. Completely incomparable. The work itself is a different task, different curriculum level, often requiring different skills and different amount of times to complete. In terms of effort, the high achieving student can do something well with a minimal amount of effort. In comparison, the low achieving student could do something that takes less time, but for them, 50% more effort. 

We talked a lot about how our own experiences, especially our home-life and schooling influence how we teach. For example, I had a high-trust model at home, and was given trust (instead of being doubted and questioned) and hence I rose to that trust and continued to earn it. Hence, I tend to give my students A LOT of choices and opportunities where they are trusted to do a job/make a choice, and I expect them to rise to the trust as I did. So far, it has worked really well and I have very independent, trustworthy students. 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

CoL meeting - 26th July 2018

Our job is not to tell, but to influence with good reflective practice.

Term 3 is the best term - no testing, no report writing.
we need to
- deliver the curriculum really well
- make sure its visible
- have high expectations

We are letting kids 'dumb down' their own language. 
- When kids don't understand what to do, the learning, or they misbehave, how do we speak to them? how do we speak to them when it matters? Do we speak to them in the 'language of success' or in 'dumbed down' English?
- We should be treating our children, no matter their age, like when they are learning languages for the first term (E.g. 0-5 year olds). Don't reprimand them all the time, just rephrase it and say it back to them in the correct way.
- We are forgetting their heritage and roots; expectations of White Sunday and other cultural oracy. They CAN do it, but we aren't expecting them too. 
- Build into planning that vocab needs to be revisited.

Challenge - 
literacy planning should be designed to have as many experiences of reading/writing/listening/speaking/thinking/viewing or presenting. 
Colouring does none of these. 
High value activity that do this. 

Link to Rebecca's slideshow

So it worked for Jimmy, but not for Rosie? Yes, we can think about

DON'T ONLY THINK ABOUT - why did the dolphins end up in a different place?
THINK ABOUT - What will cause learning under the water?

*students need to listen and respond to each other, not just have parallel conversations*

What am I going to refine?
I need to do more frequent, small format data collection E.g. timing how long and often Ryan sits in a reading group, how long he stays on task, how many times Paul will say something in reading group. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 1)

Ryan - managing self

Ryan has been on-task for longer and longer periods of time since he started a new strategy. He has participated in group discussions for guided reading a few times and will actually read the text along with his group which is a huge improvement. His learning definitely is improving now that he can sit and stay focused for longer periods. To help him manage himself, we have continued doing brain breaks. At the moment, these usually involve him eating at non-eating times (e.g. having morning tea at 10am, then again at 11am), or going for walks. Ryan has a lot of other things going on for him other than his learning goals, so he is doing extremely well at the moment.

Kian - managing self

Kian got glasses at the end of Term 2, and we are starting to get used to wearing them. I was nervous he wouldn't want to wear them at all (because of his not wanting to wear hearing aids) but he was okay about it because Ryan also got glasses. When he saw that nobody laughed at or teased Ryan, he was happy to wear them himself. He says he can see way better so I am hopeful it will really impact his reading.
A highlight this week was when Kian answered a DMIC maths question in a way nobody else did - counting in halves. I got him up to present his strategy and he could explain it and model it using his fingers. I was so proud that he had thought of it by himself, and understood it well enough to explain it to the half-class. He is trying really hard and his learning is definitely looking up.
I was also very impressed on Tuesday when he was struggling to do the maths we were doing as a class, so asked if he could work on his STEPS instead. Of course I agreed. I thought it was awesome that he recognised he was starting to feel down and loose motivation, and wanted to do something that he knew he could feel successful at instead. Good on him!

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

Paul has been quiet since the holidays and hasn't actively participated in groups as much this week. I have challenged all 3 of these boys to read a chapter book in literacy circles. For Paul and Kian, this is quite the academic challenge. On Monday Paul read along where he could when another group member was reading aloud. On Tuesday, I read it to him and he just listened. I think his confidence in reading has gone down a bit because I am challenging him with more complex texts. To build it back up, I will read his levelled books with him as well as encouraging him to stay in his group.

CoL update (Term 2, Week 9)

Ryan - managing self

One of the things Ryan is working on (as stated in his IEP) is him writing more consistently. Rather than writing 2 pages once a fortnight, his goal is to write 3 times a week, aiming for at least 2 paragraphs.
This week he has achieved that goal. They are all different topics, but were relevant to what he was doing that day.

Story 1 - the magicians elephant
"There was a nice, accurate 11 year old boy that was named Peter in a small village called Ansvill.
The small boy walked a long way when suddenly he stopped at a bright rose red tent.
The little boy said .“Should I go inside”the boy said.

Then he walked slowly across to the tent.He stared at everyone, he looked lonely, shy, afraid and nervous. Peter was terrified and shy to go in the tent. He was lost and he had no one to live with. He was staring at the tent like a picture. Nothing could help cause he can't do this anymore so he felt like he was losing all the faith in the lord so his tears were starting to pour."

Story 2- Saturn summary
"The day Saturday is also named after him Saturn has been observed in the night sky. Galileo was the first to observe with a telescope in 1610. Even if saturn was not discovered it will be out there."

Story 3 -
"The funnel web spider

The funnel web is the most scariest and deadliest most spider in our southern hemisphere.

Its fangs is about 1 centimeters its per size. The funnel web hides in its tunnel till it pray trase by for a nasty treat.

A drop of a feneam could kill a person within seconds."

He is making an effort to do more maths, as we are doing fractions and that is something he is not confident with. I am finding that he doesn't want to do it, I'll make him do one or two problems, he realises he does understand it, then is happy to continue by himself. It's as if he has this wall up that I need to tear down every-time something new is introduced. So far, this has worked so all good.

Kian - managing self
This week Kian got new glasses, I am not sure how this will go as I have to force him to wear his hearing aids and he is absolutely sure that people will tease him, even though nobody even notices. I hope that because Ryan and Kian both are getting glasses at the same time, that they will both wear them. There is a third student who needs them as well. Kian is challenging himself to read the same books as Paul, which are a little out of his reach. I admire him for trying, even though he isn't quite there yet!. I need to work on how to get Kian engaged in maths, as when we do whole class or half class stuff, often it is too difficult for him. At the same time, he won't do stuff by himself. So I either need to have a group taken out just so he will do it, or ?? Idk.. Food for thought.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

Paul as well has been challenging himself to read harder texts. He has loved being in a reading group for the past few weeks and although sometimes can't read the text independently, can listen to others read and follow along enough to get the main ideas. Being in a group with his friends has really changed the way he participates, because he isn't the fastest/smartest one now, so needs to really think and work hard. He can feel safe to say whatever he thinks because the group is made of his close friends, who he knows won't tease him for his broken English or if he is a little off track.

I want to keep him in reading groups, but still need to get him reading at his own level and above.

Friday, 20 July 2018

DMIC PD - 20th July 2018

Communication and Participation Framework

Introducing the five practices

Academically productive talk: supporting students' learning in mathematics

Things Room 7 is doing well

  • individual responsibility and assigning roles within groups. Everyone helps or takes turns to explain their thinking and answer questions.
  • mixed groups mostly work well, students make new friends and collaborate actively.
  • launching the problem - talking about the problem, talk about ways to solve, then getting the pen when they agree on one way to solve.
  • everyone is trying to participate - even very low students who maybe don't fully understand the explanation ask questions so they participate in some way..

Things for Room 7 to work on 

  • have students examine their explanation, predict the questions they will be asked and prepare explanations - accepting that only sharing the first bit of their explanation is still a explanation even if they don't get to the answer.
  • asking questions because you actually need to know the answer, not for the sake of it.
  • explaining section by section and stopping at each question to ask audience if they have questions.
  • teacher questioning - not giving answering the question within the question. not helping too much.
When writing questions
  • Students need to be exposed to all structures of questions E.g. 
    • 5+?=12
    • 12-5=?
    • ?+5=12
    • 12-7=?

Friday, 6 July 2018

CoL update (Term 2, Week 10)

Ryan - managing self

This doesn't hurt him or anyone else so I don't reprimand him for doing this. He needs a bit of a break and that is his way of getting it. Sometimes he does it because the class is too bright/loud as well.

Ryan has been doing more work in the past few weeks than ever before.

I sent him with his maths book to our team leader and DP so they could praise him (after I had) for his hard work. One of his goals in his IEP is for him to try new forms of maths (other than addition in algorithm) so this is amazing for him. He doesn't like to copy the questions off the board, but I think that is because the whiteboard reflects a lot of the sunshine so it's too bright for him to look at. So I write the questions down for him, and he will answer them. His converting improper to proper fractions was cool because he could explain what he was doing and what his drawing meant, this showed he really understood it.

He is doing so much learning because he can manage himself so much better now.

He also brought in his new glasses this week and has no qualms about wearing them so hopefully that will make a positive difference as well.

This week has been good overall for Ryan. I can tell he is getting tired so some quirks that I haven't seen in a while are reemerging, such as hiding under tables/making forts.

Kian - managing self

Kian struggles with working in groups. However, with the help of 3 wonderful students, he was able to present a display at Ako Evening. He was able to read off a script I helped him write (in his own words) which said -
"Hello my name is Kian and my inquiry was about the Earth. I learnt that the Earth has everything we need which is oxygen, food, and water. Earth is the 3rd planet from the sun and we only have one moon. Earth is in the goldilocks zone which means it’s not too hot or too cold. Earth and Venus are the same size. Earth’s coldest spot is Antarctica."
He was able to talk about the Earth in his own words which showed he had truly learnt something and understood it completely.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing

Paul works well in groups but often doesn't have a lot to contribute as he doesn't have the same level of understanding of the content, as the rest of his group. They know he shares what he can so don't begrudge him for it.
Paul was able to prepare and present a display about the sun for Ako evening. He could talk about the sun in his own words and read off the script they had prepared as well. He even went and got a book from the library about the sun and talked about it using the pictures to help him explain.

I would really like Paul to be able to admit he doesn't know or can't do something, and ask for help, rather than sit pretending he does. I want to him to be okay with asking questions to help him understand something. 

Friday, 22 June 2018

CoL update (Term 2, Week 8)

Ryan - managing self

Ryan is working really hard to be a leader for the Kapa Haka group. At first he didn't want to go, but after the first few sessions he was hooked. With his new strategy, he able to stay focused for long periods of time, particularly in Kapa Haka when there is no netbook or other things to distract him. He comes back from Kapa Haka and practices his chant, and shows a streak of passion that I haven't seen before. He loves it. The other students in the class acknowledge him for being a good leader and he loves the praise he gets from them.

Kian  - managing self

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

For Kian and Paul, I reintroduced a daily reading goal which they have used before. I designed it last year. It is loosely based on the Daily 5, but a bit more mature and independently based. Students take their piece of paper, as below, select a buddy to help them, and complete their reading tasks for the day. They have to read 2 stories to their buddies, get their buddy to read 2 stories to them, and practice some spelling words (high frequency words). This is both beneficial for their learning, as they are getting targeted reading and spelling practice, AND their social independence. They must choose a buddy who will actually help them, not just play around. 99% of the time they do this really well, and get lots of reading done each day. Some days I choose the books for them, (because they might not be choosing challenging books), or sometimes they choose themselves.
We also updated our vocab flash card game with words from the new books they got this week.
volunteer sloppy escalator supermarket unlike grinned harness puppies trainer Fortnite balloon treasure piece frankfurters skipped summer winter autumn spring seaweed unusual holiday sea seagull stranded picnic swimming scooping giant trench Matariki celebrate Aotearoa weave feathers seafood kaimoana beautiful chocolate forest Pukeko burrow Kiwi squawk lick poured weigh nervously Karearea ferns lonely driftwood whitebait down because

Friday, 15 June 2018

CoL update (Term 2 Week 7)

Ryan - managing self

Ryan has been very settled thanks to his new strategy implementation and has shown small changes in his behaviour and learning, such as: being able to keep his voice level appropriate for the classroom; keeping hands and feet to himself; being able to focus for longer periods of time and enduring/attempting learning challenges for 5-10 minutes. He has shown, in many, small ways, huge change over the past week. Communication with his RTLBs is on-going and he had an IEP meeting this week as well, targeting his learning goals and next steps. 
On Tuesday he asked if he could go to one of the junior classes, and after agreeing he could go if he stayed and completed maths first (which he did), he was very welcome in the junior classroom. I checked on him to see if all was well and managed to grab this photo. 
He had a group of young students sitting in a circle watching him as he instructed them on "how to count". He even had counters out to use. It was so sweet to see him working so well with the younger students, but amazing that he was leading them in actual learning. He was focused, prepared and loved handing out tokens to his little students once his lesson was over. The teacher of the class he was in reported he did an awesome job and she would happily have him back. 
This is just one example of how he can be very calm and focused for long periods of time.

Kian  - managing self
After being away for a week, Kian was able to manage himself inside the classroom well. I was quite proud of him when as part of a DMIC maths lesson, he got up and tried his best to help explain how his group had gotten their answer. Although he needed help in the end, it was awesome to see him managing himself to a level where he could actively participate in group tasks.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.
Paul is getting more and more confident in group situations and it is awesome to see how far he has come. He has really stepped up in the past few weeks in terms of leading learning. He wants to be the one who draws/explains/shows/helps etc. He is learning how to be part of a group and is building skills such as taking turns, negotiating, helping somebody else explain if they get stuck etc. He confidently speaks to the class when presenting from the front of the room as well.

Paul is still loving being in a proper reading group, although I still require him to read books at his own level during school and at home to practice his decoding and comprehension skills. The reading groups have changed (post-testing) and he was a little upset that his friend wasn't in the group anymore, but he has since made new friends and will be okay. In this context he is again practising how to be part of a group (i.e. taking turns, agreeing with people, replying to something they say) and is gaining confidence in doing so. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

CoL update (Term 2 Week 6)

Ryan - managing self

Ryan is really trying his best to challenge himself, even when he doens't like the thing in front of him. We were lucky to have the opportunity go to on a bouncy castle on Friday morning. At first, Ryan didn't want to go on at all and stood to one side as his classmates took their turns. I personally thought it might be a sensory thing, or the noise of the air blower/pump thing, but I didn't push him at all. After ten minutes or so, he started moving closer and closer and eventually took his first turn.. and loved it! He came up to me and said he changed his mind and he wanted to go on now. Good on him! 

Another highlight has been how involved he is during inquiry time. He often wants to do inquiry instead of reading/writing/maths, and mostly I let him because he is doing some learning. He has learnt about the moon and took the oreo activity very seriously. He traces pictures of the planets and can explain what is in his picture in his own words which shows that he does really understand the content.

   Kian  - managing self

Kian was away all of this week.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing
Paul is doing really really well. He is loving being in a reading group with his friends. He is actively involved in the group discussion and adds value to the conversation about the text. Although the actual texts are above his reading ability, he listens and follows along when the rest of the group reads aloud so he gets the understanding orally. A highlight was Paul going around the class and offering to help his classmates with a particular learning task. For one of the first times, he was the helper, not the helped. His confidence has really grown when working in groups. DMIC maths has definitely aided this confidence growth as he has a role to lead in.

DMIC lesson today - Students explaining their thinking.

As we progress with DMIC, the students are getting more and more confident in the way they present to each other about how they got their answers.
Today our question was
"Two groups of friends are sharing chocolate bars. Each group wants to share the chocolate bars fairly so every person gets the same amount and no chocolate remains.In the first group of friends, four students receive three chocolate bars. How much chocolate did each person get in the first group?In the second group of friends, eight students are given six chocolate bars. How much chocolate did each person get? Which group of students got more chocolate?"

Students worked in groups of 3 or 4 (4 per group is the norm, but some students were away) to solve their problem.

 Group 2's explanation 


The two halves of the class then swapped. The second half of the class had the same question.

I loved the discussion we had about all the groups different answers. 
One group had 3/4 and 6/8 (but didn't realise those are the same thing), the second group had 3/4 and 1/2+1/4, and the third group had 3/4 and 6/4. We spent a while going through each answer and trying to connect them to each other... 
Explaining that 3/4 and 6/8 are the same thing..

Explaining how 1/2 and 1/4 is actually the same as 3/4.

Term 1 - Term 2 learning shift


Expected shift (6 months progress in 6 months)
Term 1 Term 2
KBF 5 - 6 YRSF 5.5 - 6.5 YRS
RBIDF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8 - 9 YRS
RBITF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8 - 9 YRS
MBF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8 - 9 YRS
TFF 10.5 - 11.5 YRSF 11 - 12 YRS
LFF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8 - 9 YRS
FHF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8 - 9 YRS
DLF 9 - 10 YRSF 9.5 - 10.5 YRS
HOF 10.5 - 11.5 YRSF 11 - 12 YRS
DPF 10.5 - 11.5 YRSF 11 - 12 YRS
PPF 5.5 - 6.5 YRSF 6 - 7 YRS
SLPF 11 - 12 YRSF 11.5 - 12.5 YRS
 This many kids (12/26 = 46%) making the expected shift is awesome. I am delighted to see particular students, such as KB, RBID and PP in this group (who are ESOL/high learning needs). I feel I have developed a good programme for my high needs students in reading, and to see them make huge shifts like this is worth every bit of effort. 
The three students in orange were identifed as my target students. I am delighted they have made progress. 

No shiftTerm 1 Term 2
AFF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 7.5 - 8.5 YRS
SMF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 7.5 - 8.5 YRS
MRF 8.5 - 9.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS
HTF 9 - 10 YRSF 9 - 10 YRS
LUF 8.5 - 9.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS
KZF 9 - 10 YRSF 9 - 10 YRS
WTF 8.5 - 9.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS
ITF 8.5 - 9.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS
For me, having this many students make no shift is really really concerning. What have I been doing? Is there something in the 7.5-9.5 age range that is difficult to shift that I have not addressed? Reflecting on who these students are, I recognised a few (i.e. over half) 'cool girls', who are the ones in groups who are 'too cool' to participate and sit there sulking. Maybe I should group them together, then they might actually read and participate? Maybe the selection of texts is not appropriate for their maturity levels.. Food for thought. 
The students in orange are also 'target students'. They were identified as target students because of their low achievement in the first place, now they have not made any shifts.. Is there maybe something else happening for these students?

Greater than expected shift (more than 6 months shift in 6 months)
Term 1 Term 2
HSMF 9 - 10 YRSF 11 - 12 YRS2 years shift
STF 9 - 10 YRSF 11 - 12 YRS2 years shift
LLPF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS1 year shift
MLF 7.5 - 8.5 YRSF 8.5 - 9.5 YRS1 year shift
VBF 8.5 - 9.5 YRSF 9.5 - 10.5 YRS1 year shift
TDF 8 - 9 YRSF 9 - 10 YRS1 year shift
I am stoked with these results. Two students in particular, HSM, ST and ML I was so surprised by. At the same time, I shouldn't be surprised as these two are the most actively involved in their reading group, making deep connections and developing complex understandings of what they read. TD was also a surprise, as he is usually disengaged/doesn't participate in reading groups. I think what hooked him in this term was starting off with Literacy Circles where he was in an all-boys group, reading a "boys" book (Diary of a whimpy kid). I really want to do literacy circles again later in the year, and I will keep him in a boy-only group as this seems to keep him engaged and motivated. 

Overall Reading Reflection

I think overall my reading shifts are good. Although I'm very concerned about the group who didn't shift at 7.5-9.5, others made huge progress which should be celebrated. The other thing that has changed is the students attitude towards reading, and their own reading ability. Those who routinely say "I can't read" and now giving it a try and know who they can work well with. I think another thing that made a difference was changing the content of what we are reading to keep it challenging and interesting. For example, we read chapter books (Literacy Circles) for two weeks, have done many weeks using Digital reading (linked with inquiry) and then some school journals as well. When we do school journals in groups, we do one page per day rather than reading the whole story once and moving on. It provides much better opportunity for understanding new words, making connections, and facilitates much better discussion about and around the text.


Key - yellow shows one level shift upwards, orange means more than one level shifted upwards. Students whose initials are pink are the target students for maths. 

Gloss OverallGloss - Add/SubGloss - Mult/Div
Gloss - Prop/Ratio

Target students - WT, SM, AF and PP have made some positive shift. I put this 100% down to building their place value knowledge. We spent the whole of term 1 on place value and building place value knowledge and this has hugely benefitted the whole class. Sadly FH and KB have not shifted between Term 1 and Term 2. I think they definitely have developed their understandings, just maybe not enough for it to show up on this one test. 
Class as a whole - I am quite proud of how quickly the students have build upon their place value knowledge and can use it in different ways. They are more comfortable and confident and naming their strategy (I.e I used place value so I ....). Once this place value knowledge was in place, I could extend them by teaching them how to use algorithm correctly (I hate when they say "I carried the one..", no you didn't, you "exchanged 10 ones for 1 ten") and also introducing decimal numbers. Although for some of the lower students this is a bit too abstract, they can understand some of the place value surrounding the numbers. 
DMIC - DMIC maths can be really good and provides opportunity for lots of student-led discussion about the problem. I love the social skills DMIC encourages (E.g. problem solving, negotiating, assigning roles within a group, holding each other accountable)

Overall Maths reflection

I think it was quite difficult for students to change from 100% strategy teaching to 100% DMIC teaching, and hence we had some bumps along the way. A challenge I found when I started GLOSSing the students, was that they had forgotten a lot of the strategies I had taught them in Term 1 and they were able to confidently do in Term 1. I understand that there maybe needs to be a balance, and to try to find that balance I have tried changing the independent tasks to more strategy based problems, rather than problems similar to what the group has solved. I don't know yet if this is a good choice or not, but I am trying it and we will see.

Overall Writing reflection

I am hesitant to share writing shift, as the two test that were done measure two different genres of writing (Term 1 was recounts and Term 2 explanation texts). 
Overall, I feel really proud of the way I taught writing this term. 
Last term I felt a little lazy, just doing activities then telling students to write about what we did. I didn't give a lot of 1:1 feedback or specific teachings about features of writing or what good writers do. 
I really tried to focus this term on myself teaching writing better - explaining things, multiple opportunities to learn, less 1:1 writing and more buddy/group/class writing. 
My reflection of one week of this type of teaching can be found here. 
Marking the students writing samples/tests, I can really see they have absorbed the information I taught them about explanation texts and can produce a really good text by themselves.