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

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. 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

CoL Meeting - 31st May 2018

Our goals haven't changed since 1999, because we still have students coming into and through our schools that have the same problems as back then.

Slide 5 is awesome. The educational version of Te Whare Tapa Wha. 

This means for teachers..

If our kids don't want to improve, we have a problem. 
Teachers and students need to built evaluative capacity.

"We have to get them hungry to get pushed to the edge" - Jannie.

For students who put in 30% effort and aren't intrinsically motivated, teachers tend to do the other 70% with or without realising it. Rather, they should be examining their own teaching - "am I setting up optimal conditions for learning, to encourage instrinsic motivation?"

Don't blame the kids for their achievement. Teachers "who evaluate their learning in the light of the success of their students learning". 

Jannie's presentation

Knowledge carries language, language is carried by knowledge.

It isn't enough to have 'language' going on, its about increasing the levels of complexity for the learners. 

Elaborative responses - 

Somebody comments about what a 2nd person is wearing, saying they are wearing something that doesn't 'match'. 
You could reply by 

but... is that adding to the complexity of thinking?
It could have been talking about textures/fabrics/patterns and the purposeful decision to be different with design.

You should have...
Structural lift
Vocabulary lift
Concept knowledge
Thinking and meaning

These responses should
- pick up message and meaning AND
- add new words, new ideas or develop the first idea that was said. (this is the GIFTING of language).

Student awareness

Do students know why we do think pair share? Do they understand the pedagogical intent about it? 
Students need to be able to have elaborate responses.
Need to understand that they are co-contributors.

Don't hurry to reply to kids, and don't just ask them questions. Think, and reply with an elaborative response. Try to add value, not just repeat or say 'good job'.

Adults always reply about themselves. 
E.g. Person 1: "I love my dog he's so cute"
Person 2 "I'm allergic to dogs"
But... that isn't valuing what person 1 said..

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Trying to better my writing practice - a reflection

I have always felt that I am best at teaching maths, then maybe reading, followed lastly by writing. I get more shift in maths than I do in other learning areas, so I must be doing something right. I have never felt confident teaching writing, and I think this shows through my teaching and students lack of shift. 

I realised towards the end of last year and confirmed it (in my own head) last term, that the 'bit' I am missing is the middle bit. 

Thinking of the 'Gradual Release of Responsibility'...

I found that I was going from 'demonstration' straight to 'independent practice', and missing the bits in the middle. Therefore students often did not have in-depth understandings of what I was asking them to do, couldn't explain, would make mistakes etc. 

This week, as a new term (we didn't do writing last week) I have really tried to focus on those middle bits to 1) see what difference could be made for students, and 2) prove to myself I can be good at teaching writing.

This was my plan for the week.

WALT identify features of a report
SC I can identify the features of a report  
  • T introduce new writing topic - report writing. Clarify this is similar, but different than reports the kids get.
  • Give each group an example - they have 5 minutes with it to see it, read it etc and take notes about it. PRINT EXAMPLES FROM HERE.
  • Class discussion - what do they all have in common? What are the proper words for those things? (E.g. headings and subheadings, technical vocab, pictures, diagrams, sometimes have questions, lists, facts NOT opinions)
WALT navigate an information report by using its features
SC I can find information in a report without reading it
  • Give students copies of reports they have not seen before.
  • Ask them to find one feature - headings/subheadings. WITHOUT reading the actual text, what is this story going to be about? (possibly block out the actual text so they can’t read it). Make a prediction about 3 different things that will be talked about.
  • What information can we add from only looking at the pictures, diagrams or illustrations?
  • What have we learnt so far? Write FACTS. Finally, read the text. Find the technical vocab and any questions. What else have we learnt?
  • To sum up - where can we look for information? NOT JUST THE TEXT. But also, there is not one sentence that doesn’t tell you something new. Read sentence by sentence and check this. No random silly sentences.
  • Students annotate a digital copy of the text with a buddy to find the different features of the text.
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can write an explanation and an example for a statement
SEE structure example - here.
  • T show 3 different examples of reports. Get students to focus on one paragraph at a time. What do you notice? Hope they say SEE.
  • If not, explicitly show. Highlight in different colours so they can see.
  • Model writing paragraphs using think alouds.
  • Share back to class. Display these on writing wall with SEE parts labeled.  
WALT to identify and use the SEE structure
SC I can organise sentences into the SEE structure
  • Class discussion - review SEE structure
  • Students organise given sentences into what they think is an appropriate SEE structure that makes sense.
  • Groups go and read each others, then feed back to class.
WALT create and use a check-list to mark information reports
SC I can identify features of a
  • T hands out all information reports that we have looked at this week and all resources.
Have blank template of checklist open, get students to help fill it in to create an agreed checklist.
WALT write an information report
SC I can use a plan to help guide my writing
  • As a class, plan together (teacher lead) what we will include.
  • Students write a information report about the sun using plan created together.

Evidence of our learning this week

The kids came up with all of these features of information reports. Even the idea that pictures/illustrations and diagrams are similar, but diagrams must have labels. Woo!

Examples of student labelling digitally.

Examples of the added 'explain and example' sentences -

Written by Timote and Isaia.
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world.Because you can do like anything with it and it cheap for example you can make a
  1. milkshake
  2. A cake
  3. Ice cream
  4. Bread
If You wanted to measure time you could use a watch , clock , hourglass or even a sundial.
This is a clock you can find it in your house and if you look at it you can tell the time  because there is two of sicks on the clock a short and a long the short one tells the HR and the long on tells the minute that is one strategy but in the world there are a loads. You might say why because it is eazy and you must have one of them.

  1. in your house
  2. In a community hall
  3. In your family house
 On Thursday we did the sorting activity. All the groups could organise the sentences into the correct SEE structure. Some needed reminding what an introduction and conclusion were, but got there in the end.
What I loved was walking around listening to the groups trying to figure it out. They were using words like 'explaining' and 'example' to justify why a particular sentence went there. This showed me that they really understood the structure and could use it independently.
Link to co-created checklist.

Link to the modelling I did and paragraphs co-created.

Overall reflection
I have really enjoyed only doing 'shared writing', instead of just doing 'writing'. The kids have developed such deep understanding of this type of text, and they haven't even written one yet. I loved hearing them discuss the texts and be able to identify and define a particular feature of this writing, and justify why they were making the choices they did. 
Throughout the week (everyday) I reminded the kids we are doing 'shared writing', which means we are learning about writing rather than just doing writing. The kids who struggle to write slowly understood the difference and the stress/fear/pressure slowly lifted. There was 100% participation in all the activities, even the kids who can't actually write independently.