Monday, 29 July 2019

Presenting our targets and outcomes in our Curriculum meeting #1

As part of our professional development around student centred learning, our HOD's and assistant HOD's were asked to present to our curriculum committee ways our subject areas were supporting students to achieve NCEA level one.

We had four questions to address:
  • Who are our target students and what are our desired outcomes
  • What will we do differently to achieve those outcomes
  • How will we lead that change
  • What support will we need
Here is my presentation:

Friday, 26 July 2019

Default vs Deliberate theories of action teaching #9

As a visual learner, I have designed a template to help guide my inquiry.

My 'Default' Theory of Action in teaching
When it comes to teaching, the old me would 'default' to my normal standard teaching practice as follow:
  • “Do Now, devices out, teacher talks for 10-15 mins to impart knowledge, students are shared tasks to do individually or in pairs, teacher checking work progress and understanding, complete a blog, students write a summary of the learning”.
I am pretty confident to deliver this standard teaching format and felt it worked because the kids appeared engaged and if they knew the routines, there would be less behavioural issues.  When it came to raising achievement in reading and writing, the mid to high ability students were doing well, but the gap seemed to be getting bigger for the lower ability.  On reflection, I need to be able to ask how my teaching actions have contributed to this gap and be prepared to challenge my thinking to enable better outcomes for my learners.  Albert Einsten said ''Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

Profiling and hypothesis generation
There are two areas for profiling and hypothesis generating - students and teachers.  For the students,  creating a comprehensive profile helps to inform strategies that align with raising achievement.  For teachers part, identifying my teaching theory and unpacking my hypothesis and causal chain support my design for deliberate teaching.

'My new deliberate Theory of Action'
The main hypothesis that I have is: If I slowed down the teaching and the learning of key concepts and have the students 'talk the learning', I theorise that the low-ability students will have the confidence and capabilities to build their language knowledge and this will could to an improvement in their reading and writing.

Intervention Design and Implementation:
I am consciously thinking about the planning around my implementation design and looking at the different aspects that support my hypothesis.  Rather then look at achieving the big picture straight away, I need to create little checkpoints along the way that will help me get to my valued learning outcomes.  I have identified a few ideas in my design and implementation, which will be detailed more in my other blog posts.

I have started to collect information to help me monitor the progress of the students and whether my teaching has had an impact in their learning and whether they can identify this.  I have listed a few formal and informal ways I will collect the information.  For the evaluation section, I will detail that further as my inquiry progresses.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Restating my inquiry and my theory of action/change of events #8

Restate my inquiry question and theory of action/chain of events.

At our COL meeting today we were asked to restate our inquiry question and discuss our theories of action/chain of events.  Initially my valued learning outcomes were based around the ability for students to improve their summary writing skills through understanding what they are reading.  I've realised that the barrier starts with reading and even before reading, it is about having the capabilities and tools to grasp the thinking behind language.

After much thought and research, I have come to the conclusion that the valued learning outcomes that  I want to improve for my students in this inquiry are...based around understanding and articulating key concepts to improve reading and writing.

The changes I am making to my teaching to improve these outcomes are...focussing on the learning of language vocabulary by slowing down the teaching and having students talk the learning.

The reasons why I think these changes in my teaching will be effective for my learners are...that they will be able to conceptualise key words and show their understanding of their learning through relevant conversations and dialogue.

As quoted by Aaron:
"At the end of my inquiry, I want to be able to find out the changes that have happened for learners and to know why those changes happened.  I need lots of good information about the learners but also about my teaching.  

Last year, we saw evidence for shifts for learners but that evidence about what changes for teachers were was a bit weak - it was hard to know what the teachers had done differently that had caused those changes or if they were related.  

Theory of Action:  Learners have these improvements in their learners and it is because we think they made these changes in their teaching".

I want to be able to say 'This was how I was teaching before, and this is how I'm teaching now'.  I am thinking of developing a visual diagram of my inquiry so far, so that I could see how I am progressing and what I need to do next!

Connecting with whanau to build student profiles #1

Studies show building a connection with whanau and families can support the achievement of a student.  In my efforts to know my learners better, we have our student achievement conferences and I asked the tutor teacher of 9PKr if I could support him in meeting some of the parents of my inquiry group.  My main purpose was to share my inquiry with them, discuss some of my findings, then hopefully set goals with them.  My key focus was looking at reading but if they wanted to know about writing, I was happy to share what I'd learnt about their child with them.

I went armed with the following resources:
* Profile sheets of evidence I had collected
* A blank graph that I had pre-sketched to show the progression of asttle reading results for 2018 and 2019 (and beyond).
* 'The Big Picture' diagram for students to complete
* Strategies for supporting students at home from Dr Jannie and department discussions.

For each student, I wanted to share historical data collected from their primary schools (2017/2018) mainly asttle reading results and compare them to this years two test points (in February and June).  I wanted to explain where they needed to be by the end of year 10 ready for NCEA at the start of year 11.  I am also to sharing ways we could all support their child, through strategies discussed from Dr Jannie Van Hees and in my department discussion.  I am hoping that we could set collective realistic goals.

This morning, I met with two students and their families, and have collated what I will tentatively call a 'tri-angulation' of profile collecting for these students. 

Student ONE:  T1 is a young Maori boy, whose mum came in for his meeting.  I have found that he is a capable critical thinker and is able to verbalise his learning, but can not and will write much and this was evident in his asttle reading/writing scores where he scored 2A's.  I also know that socially, he struggles to fit in with his peers.
Tri-angulation of data and evidence for student T1
After much discussion, I found out that he'd only been speaking English in the last three years and he was the lead speaker at his kura kaupapa when he'd left.  She wants to continue encouraging him in his Te Reo and says he enjoys school. 

Quick reflection:  I was taken aback and said to her I now see him in a totally different way.  I can see now why he was having issues fitting in and I often see him bursting at the seams to answer questions.   I have written some reflection here about my next steps with him that I hope to implement in my theory of action.

Student TWO:  A1 is a young Maori girl whose mum attended her meeting.  She is a highly capable student who scored 4P in asttle reading and 5A in her writing.  She fits in well with her peers and always completes tasks to a high standard.  At times though, I noticed that she was only doing what was required at the fastest time possible and only after I pushed her to extend herself would she actually do it.  She would also get annoyed at the smallest things.

When I asked mum what her aspirations for her daughter were, she was a bit taken aback and said it was a good question (I don't think she was expecting the question). She wanted her daughter to be healthy, safe and confident and to be whatever she wants to be.  I asked A1 what she thought about what mum said and she said yes, I know.  I reminded A1 that her next steps were to continually challenge herself and be a highly critical thinker by digging deeper and finding out more.

Quick reflection:  I am thinking about ways to extend these higher level students in the class and there are about 5 or 6 (mostly girls).  I don't want them to lose momentum and feel that with more support, they could be ready to do NCEA in year 10! 

I am really happy that I met these students and their mums.  It has given me a whole new insight into who they are, how and why they behave the way they do and what I need to change in my approach to teaching them.  I feel more confident in identifying exploring ways to address their needs, it's just a matter of finding the right interventions -watch this space.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Reflecting on our Cross-curricula collaboration from term 2

At the beginning of this term, Jannie and I had been working with 9PKr's English teacher to collaborate on a shared unit around our community.  They had been reading a novel in their English class that had similiar links to Marae life and growing up in New Zealand.  We'd had a few meetings to design a programme and although they were productive, I feel the unit didn't get off the ground as productively as it could've.  On reflection, I wonder if the context had enough links across our curriculum areas to connect it better to each other or if it was just bad timing.  
In their mid-term exams, students are required to write an essay on our significant places in our community and to think about why it is important to know about our community.  13 boys sat the exam and 5 of them passed.  7 girls sat the exam and only 1 of them did not achieve.  Overall, I was disappointed with the results as I thought the context of learning about our community would've engaged them in their learning and motivated them to try harder. 

For my next steps, I want to utilise the strategies that I had learnt from Jannie in term one and focus on really 'energising their brains' to slow down the learning and focus on understanding and applying key concepts and terms. 

Manaiakalani Secondary Schools Connect Presentation

Manaiakalani provides opportunities for Secondary School teachers in our wider cluster to share the awesome things happening in our schools....