Wednesday, 1 May 2019

My preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge

Findings #1:  According to asttle, there are varying levels of reading abilities in my classroom and all the students who are level 2 are boys!.  When compared to their writing posts conducted in class (which shows their understanding of their reading) their writing ability depends on their reading abilities.  Students can’t write a summary if they don’t understand what they are reading. They struggle with the vocab and do not have enough time to 'dig deep' into text. This is supported by further evidence in the next finding. Please click on the document linked to find out more.
Findings #2: That students who struggle on average do not like reading or spend less time reading in or out of school.  These are the same students who struggle to write and have said that they need extra help and support when it came to writing. They are not motivated to read and struggle to engage with text that they can not relate to or are not interested in.

Findings #3: Writing a summary requires clear structures and scaffolding for the lower ability learners. Students think they know what a good summary looks like but acknowledge that getting there is a struggle and that many of them need help to get there. They also want more practice in writing them within a framework and need support in using key words to show their learning.

Findings #4: Although my focus is writing and reading, students wanted to the chance to talk about the context first. Having the ability to talk about the context in pairs and groups may allow for the text to be more relatable for the students who like to engage with the texts in this way. The gap between reading and writing might be shortened by talking about the text.

Next steps: I want to look at approaches and models that I could use as interventions. This will be in my next blog.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Inquiry Blog #5: Collecting evidence and data

To collect evidence of how my kids write, I asked them to read a text about Tokelau and write a summary as to why Tokelauans migrated to New Zealand.  I then used a marking rubric to identify where students sat according to levels related to asttle.  From this, I reflected on the results and wrote observations of what I saw and heard when students were given the tasks.  Below are the results:

Analysis of the evidence:  My observations of students who had low levels of reading and writing was that they struggled to engage with the text initially and I wonder if it was partly due to my lack of explaining the task.  The text itself had a splattering of words that were difficult but is targeted at a level 5 student.  Taking all the different learning abilities to the same text is like leading a monkey and an elephant to the same tree and telling them to climb it.  

After reading, students were expected to write a summary.  The students who were at 4 and 5, wrote good summaries in their own words.  The students who struggled either copied from the text or used language that didn't summarise the text properly.  A strength that I observed though was that they were able to verbalise about the readings ie. they were talking about the content.

Here are some of my wonderings (as an aside):
  • Schools who are entering results help to show good longitudinal data.
  • Some schools such as Glen Innes school, showed accurate data and shift.
  • Students whose language is not English, may benefit from learning vocab in their own language first.
  • Can we teach them new words through their language first?
  • How can student peer support help kids?

Friday, 26 April 2019

Profiles of my students and their learnings #1

The Challenge:  Kids struggle to write good summaries of readings they do in class.

Tools/ Measures/ Approaches to gather learning profiles:
  1. Asttle data:  Readily available, one of the tests used at our school to collect reading/writing data.  Although not necessarily the best one to use, at this stage, it is the one that the majority of the students have results for on kamar.
  2. Review of past year asttle results:  To see if the student has been progressing over the past few years with regards to their asttle results.  I wanted to see the pattern of learning from previous schools to help me see whether the student was progressing accordingly.  
  3. Writing post:  Conducted a formative assessment type writing task that students had to take ‘seriously’ (suggested by Aaron Wilson).  I used a marking rubric developed by Marc to measure the students’ writing against. I did this to see what level of writing the students had against a marking rubric taken from asttle.
  4. Student voice survey on reading:  I conducted a reading survey with the students which was developed with the support of Jannie and conducted over a period.  We carefully went over each question and had students carefully answer their questions.
  5. Different context observation:  The classes English teacher wrote her observations after teaching the class for one term.  I wanted to see if she saw similiar or different writing/reading results as I did.
  6. Quick survey and class discussion on writing:  I conducted a quick survey with 3 questions about writing and we discussed reasons for their answers.  I wanted to see what their thoughts around writing a summary was.
  7. Teacher observation (from my student teacher):  My student teacher has been with observed me teaching them for a number of weeks in term1, has tracked them for a day in all their classes and is currently teaching them as part of her practicuum.  I wanted to see if her perspective was similiar or different to my own with regards to engagement in writing tasks (TBA). 
The results of the profiles are linked here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Meeting with Dr Aaron Wilson to sound out my inquiry #1

At our last CoL teacher meeting, we were given the challenge to find tools and measures that would support our inquiries in a more robust way.  Because I am a bit slow at processing important information some times (meaning I need some one to one translating of words and concepts lol) another colleague and I, Hinerau Anderson, asked to meet with Dr Aaron Wilson to sound out whether we were on the right track with our inquiries.

I shared my thoughts around the difficulties kids had with completing tasks and when it came to writing summaries, students especially boys, were struggling.

The first task I need to do was to find out who was not completing them and how long they were.  Aaron shared that he had worked with a teacher at another secondary school (similar to ours) who was struggling with their year 10 class to write summaries.  When collecting data, he suggested that the best source of data would be copies of summaries they've written themselves.  Once I had evidence of kids work, I could put them into three categories: incomplete, complete, missing.  Using a marking rubric will help me gain a good picture of where the kids were at with their summary writing.

From this, there are a number of hypothesis that could be the reasons for the challenge:

1. Was them understanding instructions
2.  Related to not reading the text (can't/don't know how)
3.  Flow diagram - can read but don't know much about summarising
4.  Not good at knowing the structure of the text.
5.  Some can write a summary but don't see the purpose - analyse and find out what's going wrong

We touched on a number of approaches that could support different students at different stages which I will talk about in later blogs.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Inquiry Blog #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.

To ensure that we are 'identifying, checking, prioritising and investigating the nature of the student achievement issue', we need to develop a 'rich picture with a high degree of reliability and specificity'.  

The image above shows the evidence that I hope to collected.  I have already started to collect evidence below.

  • PAT blog post - TBC (to be completed)
  • Asttle results blog post here and one more to come
  • STAR data blog post -TBC
Literacy Background:
  • Strengths, weaknesses and gaps blogpost (looking more closely at the data)- TBC
  • Different contexts - (discussions with other teachers and Marc) - TBC
  • Outside the classroom (student voice survey) - TBC
Behaviours, Attitudes and beliefs
  • Student voice survey - survey completed, data analysis needed - TBC
  • Teacher observations - one blog post here and another TBC
  • Class discussions - blog post TBC
Teacher observations
  • Recordings of student interactions - one blog post here and another TBC
  • Engagement - one blog post here (action vs inaction) and another TBC
Student voice
  • Student voice surveys - completed, blog post TBC
  • Focus groups - TBC
Things to remember:
Other data may / may not support standardised test results, particularly if results are surprising. Other sources include teacher homework, teacher observations, other tests, discussions with students. If other sources do not match, seek to understand why. E.g., students perform worse under timed test conditions, and need support in learning to work under time pressure

Monday, 1 April 2019

Meeting #5 with Dr Jannie Van Hees: Thinking about our reading

My year 9 social studies class often struggle to understand what they have read because they struggle with the language and making meaning from text.  Dr Jannie and I have been working on ways to dive deep into text so they have the ability to increase their language capabilities.

Today we had a planning meeting for a lesson that we will be team teaching this week.  We talked about how to gather evidence from the students around their thoughts on reading and language.  The survey will support my inquiry as well as help me gage what the students thinking was behind their attitudes to reading.  We talked about a student voice survey that had both multi-choice questions and open-ended ones.  We then looked at an example of a text that we could dive deep into.  The thinking is to give the kids multiple opportunities to dive deep, so that they could apply it, transfer it, teach it to others and be the expects of their own understanding of text and language.   My challenge is to ensure that I constantly remind students the 'why' behind everything eg. why I am doing a survey, why I want to find out about their reading etc.

Jannie will then dive deep into a current event article, focusing on the first paragraph only.  Here is our draft powerpoint below.

I always get excited when listening to Dr Jannie, because there are little pearls of wisdom that pop up randomly in our conversations that I have to record.  Here are a few from today's meeting:
  • We want the kids to practice 'mindful reading'.
  • We can live a thousand worlds through reading...we could be sailing on the Pacific Ocean, we could be on a camel in Egypt, we could be at the top of Mt Everest...we can understand others and the world around us better.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Meeting #4 with Dr Jannie Van Hees and Ms Feps: Collaborative planning

There's never enough time in the day to really dive deep into anything really, let alone text!  In our attempts to find the time for my year 9 social studies class to develop language, Dr Jannie and I came up with the idea to collaborate with their English teacher, Makerita (Ms Feps) to collaborate and design a course that will build a rich programme of language learning and making, to help support our students.

Our initial brainstorming planning meeting was held 15th March, where we were pitched the idea to my year 9 classes English teacher Makerita.  We talked about themes and how it could look to both subjects and ways we could collaborate on the teaching and learning of texts.  After the meeting we went away to think about what we needed to have done individually with our separate achievement objectives and also ways to connect with each other. 

Today we had a google hangout session where we focussed on the plan itself.  We started with brainstorming, then talked about ideas for creating and sharing of the student learning.  I discussed the problems students had in connecting with their community and we unpacked what the reality was and how we could develop it further.  Here is a brainstorm plan that I developed from our meeting.

The blue circles underneath fit under each area of people, place and community so I didn't try to link them together.   We will discuss this further at our next meeting this Friday.

Jannie, Makerite and me on our google hangout (I'm sick by the way lol)

My preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge

Findings #1:  According to asttle, there are varying levels of reading abilities in my classroom and all the students who are level 2 are...