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.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Team-teaching with Dr Jannie Van Hees #2: Deep diving into text

In our double Social Studies class this week, Dr Jannie and I team taught a lesson in deep dive session looking at the article 'Fossil of ancient four-legged whale found in Peru'.  Students often skim read current events articles without really understanding what it is telling them and what they have learnt.  The purpose was show the students how to put the lense of the language and make meaning from text.

Jannie went through the reasons for focussing on reading and ways to go about it.  I videoed much of the presentation below.
I admire the patience that Jannie had in drawing information from students who otherwise would have annoyed the heck out of me.  My idea of a successful learning environment has always been, teacher talk, students ask questions, students work either individually, in pairs or group.  There was none of this back and forth rhetoric that I saw happening in the class.

From a teaching perspective, I struggled with pace.  During the lesson, we had only focussed on one sentence and I was anxious nearing the end.  Jannie had to leave early and so I was left to test the students understanding and I was gobsmacked at how much information they had retained!  I asked my student teacher Sam to record them and I see now how successful the deep dive was.  Although I see the end results as rewarding, the process to get there is what I need to get my head around.

For my next steps, I need to re-evaluate the mindset that I have around pace in the lesson and really thinking about the essential language I want the students to have to better prepare them for success in their reading and writing.

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.

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