Tuesday, 21 August 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 5)

As the Manaiakalani Hui is this week, I really wanted to analyse my student achievement data so I could say with confidence if they have moved or not.






F 5 - 6 YRS

Level 10


F 7.5 - 8.5 YRS



F 5.5 - 6.5 YRS

Level 18





F 5.5 - 6.5 YRS

Level 10


8 - 9 YRS



6 - 7 YRS

Level 18

mid TERM 3




Level 12


8 - 9 YRS



7.5-8.5 YRS

Level 21

Paul has made SIGNIFICANT shift this year. I definitely think that it down to him yes knowing more English, but also that he works with others and learns from them. Putting him and Kian in mixed-ability reading groups for the second half of Term 2 and so far this term has made huge shifts.

I would expect this area to have the most significant shift, as this is the area we work on the most in targeted groups and also the learning area I have paid most attention to in terms of the students Key Comps.


Kian - No shift, but a huge achievement that he maintained his Term 1 achievement levels

Paul - shift in all areas of GLOSS test.

Ryan - Shift in his add/sub, maintained all other areas.

















In Term 1 we did Schonnell spelling and in Term 2 we did Peters.

Paul and Kian also do Essential spelling list because they don't do amazingly well on Schonnel.

Term 1 - Schonnell.

Kian - 10 (6 years old)

Paul - 12 (6 years old)

Ryan - 36 (8.6 years old)

Term 2 - Peters.

Kian - 11 words correct.

Paul - 17 words correct.

Ryan - 37 words correct.

Term 3 Essential spelling test.


Non-academic changes
Ryan - Ryan is more settled and is doing more learning now than he ever has before. Although he is in a rough spot right now with a million and one things happening in his life, he is doing really well and is able to manage himself so he can get some learning done.

Kian - Kian's learning has shifted since the beginning of the year. His maths is more focused on maintenance and not forgetting what he can do, but his reading and writing have hugely improved. He used voice typing to write because it works better for him and this differentiation has provided him with the opportunity for success. He loves working with other people and typically gets more learning completed as well, however he has some confidence issues to work through when working inpedendantly.

Paul - Paul has made huge shifts in learning, but also is a lot more confident to participate and share ideas regardless of the context. He works with more people (including girls) and will offer help to others when he knows what he is doing. He can confidently ask other adults questions or deliver objects/messages to other teachers in the school.

Friday, 17 August 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 4)

 What did I do this week?
This week I used my CRT day to prepare resources for my literacy and maths target groups, but also for ‘The A team’ which includes Kian and Paul. I prepared targeted activities or tools as to where they are at and what they need to work on.
For Kian and Paul, this includes blends (to help them sound out longer words easier) and tenses (mainly the difference between current and past tense).

Blends flip book - we are going to do a couple pages per day, saying and writing any words that start with or have that blend in them. For the third member of the A team (not Kian or Paul), pronunciation is a big issue so we are going to sound out each word and practice how to say the blend lots and lots of times.

Loop game for current/past tense.

Loop game for initial sounds and blends.

Blends flash cards.

Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing
Kian - managing self
Paul and Kian have loved the blends flip books, although Kian decides he "can't" write using a pencil but still sits and listens to us practising the words, then writes them in later anyway. The blends with three letters (e.g. scr) were difficult for Paul to pronounce and he is still having small issues with p/b sounds, but a HUGE improvement all round.
We met together and went through blends three times this week, on top of me reading with them and them reading with others as well.

On reflection and in discussion with the students families, I realise that we focus A LOT on reading (to try and catch them up to their peers) but I don't do much writing with them. Kian using voice typing to write which is fine, but Paul needs to work on his writing. 

Ryan - managing self
Ryan is still in a difficult time so I have not been pushing him a lot, but just loving him. That's all he needs right now. He has good and bad days, but has moments of clarity where he explicitly states what he is going to do (or not do..) in order to manage himself better. These are mostly social goals at the moment, but he is still trying his best.
He loves the inquiry topic we are doing this term and often sends me summaries about tornadoes and hurricanes, or draws pictures of them. This counts as learning for me because he is able to talk about what he has drawn or written in his own words.

Friday, 10 August 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 3)

After Paul passed level 21, I changed my reading boxes from the small cardboard ones used in the colour wheel resource room to these big plastic ones I had in  my classroom. I used the colour picker tool to get the actual colour from the Colour Wheel and matched it to the levels.
When I talk to the kids about their reading level, we often refer to the colour rather than the level, so I wanted to have both displayed. 

These big containers also fit MORE books, so I could put my Sunshine books in these as well as the Colour Wheel books. Inside the containers are also high-frequency word flash cards that the students use for instant word recognition and spelling games.

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 3)

 Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

Last week I tested Paul on PM Benchmark and moved him up to level 21. This week, while reading levels 19-21 with him for 'guided' reading, I noticed he didn't need me much apart from to prompt him when he came to a new word. He is getting better at sounding out words, or making connections to other words he knows (e.g. should, would, could), but often gets stuck on high-interest or topic words he has never seen before (e.g. desert foxes, thick stems).

I PROBE'd him on Tuesday as I wanted to see if his comprehension was moving at the same accelerated pace his decoding was. Firstly, I gave him the story 'SNAP'. 

He passed with 100% on comprehension.

Next I gave him 'Teeth' (which is the same age level, but non-fiction).

Again, passed with 100%. 
His reading was pretty accurate as well considering he doesn't normally read non-fiction texts.

Next I put him up one level (age bracket), and tried him on fiction.

And again, 100% comprehension.

The same age bracket, but non-fiction.

This one he struggled with. There were words he has never seen written before (e.g. sandy, spikes, plants) but he tried to sound them out or connect to other words (e.g. he said planets for plants because he knows the word planets). Although he didn't actually know what a desert was, he got most of the questions (enough to pass anyway). I thought his answer to question 8 was sweet, because he had learnt about lizards and desert foxes for the first time in this story and wanted to see them in real life. 

Although he technically passed the story 'Desert life', I felt his confidence drop and he took a lot longer to read it, and think about his answers.

Even though he got lots of words wrong, this is still useful information for me as I can see where he gets the words he did say from. 
small=smile (sm sound and shape of the word)
thought-threw (th sound at the beginning)
tired=tried (same letters but in a different order)
Mr=Mrs (not noticing the s)
onto=into (not noticing the first o?, knows the word into)
settled=sitted (noticed the 'ed' at the end of the word, both have the same shape and have 's' at the beginning and 't' in the middle, possibly didn't notice the 'l')
give=gave (confusion of tenses possibly, or maybe didn't noticed the 'i')
would=could (knows the word could, maybe didn't notice the 'w')

He could answer the first question very easily - the others.. not so much. 
I am still very impressed with this piece of evidence as it shows that his decoding and comprehension are both improving at an accelerated rate. I 100% think this is because of the group work he has been doing while still reading at his own level. 

Ryan - managing self
As I mentioned in last week's update, Ryan has a LOT going on for him in his wider circle (home life, RTLB and other agencies, family stuff, friendship stuff) and so he has really been in a darker space this week. I know that for him RIGHT NOW, being at school everyday, being safe and having an outlet for his thoughts is what he needs. Right now, he doesn't need to be pushed into reading groups and growled for not completing his work. Right now, he needs a bit of love. A lot of love. So right now, that is what he is getting. I have not been pushing him to join in discussions or anything. He is doing small amounts of work each day and right now, that is enough for him.

 Kian - managing self
Kian is continuing to learn at his own pace. He is way more confident in his reading than he was last term and enjoys being able to choose books from his own 'box'. He doesn't choose from the 'lowest' box so thinks he is really smart by getting 'hard' books.

Friday, 3 August 2018

CoL Update (Term 3, Week 2)

Ryan - managing self
Kian - managing self
Paul - relating to others/participating and contributing.

All three students have been working very hard, especially in reading where they are in a group together reading (or listening to..) a chapter book.

On Friday Ryan came to the group for the first time all week, sat for about 30 minutes and even offered to read aloud to the group. This is amazing! This is the LONGEST he has sat in a reading group EVER. Add the fact that he was reading aloud for the others to listen to, and contributed to the discussion about what had happened is AWESOME.
After reading the group went away and had to draw an illustration about something that had happened, find 10 new words and write 3-5 sentences of a summary about what happened. All 3 students completed this task.

I have been reflecting on the type of work I give them, and wether that work actually offers them a chance at success or not. Sometimes, my high expectations might be too high and the task I want the students to complete is either too hard for them, too hard to do without teacher help, or I don't give them enough time to complete it.
I have also found that when I give them different tasks to complete (i.e. roles for literacy circles where one person is the illustrator and the other is word master), they really struggled to complete it. When I gave both students both tasks to do, they could do it.
So maybe it's not the task itself, but it's that they couldn't do it together.

Ryan has a lot going on for him at the moment at home and in other aspects of his life. I have noticed he has started making forts again. I don't usually growl him for doing this, as he is trying to protect himself from overstimulation or needs a bit of quiet time by himself.

Evidence of shift

This week I tested Kian and Paul's reading level using PM Benchmark. Kian passed level 12 and Paul passed level 21.
I know that Kian hates being tested and typically doesn't do well on tests. For guided reading, he is currently reading level 15-16, but only just got instructional on Level 12 on his tests. I will keep him reading levels 15-16 for guided reading because he is able to read them. 
Paul has made huge shifts to be instructional level 21 at this point in the year. He only started school 1 year ago, and started on Red (level 3).
For Kian I noticed that he often looks at the first letter or sound and guesses the word. Sometimes the word he guesses is close enough to the actual word that it might make sense, but often not.. I noticed that on line 12, he read the word 'ride' as 'run', kept reading, got to the end of the sentence, realised it didn't make sense and started the line again (and got 'ride' correct). This shows me he is trying to make sense and make meaning while reading, not just reading fast and incorrectly to 'get through it' and 'get it over with'. I hope this shows he is starting to enjoy reading.

A lot of the errors Paul makes are because he doesn't know the word in the first place. He still has come small errors with p/b sounds but has gotten so much better at sounding out words.

I notice with both of them that in long words (three or four syllables), they sound out words letter by letter. And because the words are so long, they forget what it started with by the time they get to the end of the word and have to start again or give up and ask me what the word is. 
I think we need to work on blends and chunking words into pieces, rather than sounding it out letter by letter. 

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.