Friday, 20 November 2020

Bursts and Bubbles

The catalytic aspect of student learning my inquiry focused on this year was specific and careful teaching of vocabulary in an environment that fostered discussion in order to increase not only reading ability but achievement across the curriculum.

I identified this as my focus when I noticed that a number of my leaners were reading well below their age and that these learners were often the quietest in the class and used simple vocabulary in their discussions.

To build a rich picture of my students’ learning I used running record data, teacher observations, student voice surveys, video recordings of students reading and discussion observations of student engaging in games.

The main patterns of student learning I identified in the profiling phase were that student in my target group were significantly behind their peers in the class on a Star test, running records. There were aware of this achievement gap and did not choose to speak without prompting during whole class or even some small group discussion. They would not self identify words they did not know or understand but rather waited ours or the teacher to bring them up in discussion. They did however have a very positive attitude towards reading and when asked to join a discussion would attempt to do so.

My profiling of my own teaching showed that I had strengths in providing reading mileage and introduction of the topic and identifying topic specific vocabulary, But that my students would likely make more progress if I developed in supporting discussion and student questioning and supporting children to identify challenging vocabulary themselves.

This year I made a lot of micro changes in my teaching, I started out by adding more independent reading time, more sight word games and poems more regular. I also looked at how challenge could be provided through text select while still providing plenty of mileage for my learners. I also had to think about to to provide this in a distance learning context and challenging text with audio support became a huge part of our distance learning program.

The literature/expertise that helped me decide what changes to make was I looked at a range of literature and had many discussion with colleagues, I also looked at pasted inquiries and as this inquiry build on my inquiry from last year I had a wider range of resources and my own experiences to use as a guide.

The easiest thing to change was building more independent reading into my program, the children love to read and so this just happened and was amazing to watch. The hardest part to change was build discussion about vocabulary in which all students had a voice.

Overall I would rate the changes in student learning as interesting, many of the students in my target group made 1.5 years progress or more in reading, they had become more independent in writing and use more topic specific vocabulary when they write, however it is hard to say with full certainty the impact across the full curriculum given the challenges of measuring this with two lockdowns during the year and period were group learning was more challenging.

The most important learning I made about vocabulary and discussion in reading was that it is not a simple issue and that the target vocabulary need can be sight words or topic specific words and that I still have a lot of work to do to get the discussion to the level I had hoped for. The most important learning I made about inquiry was that the little changes can made a big difference, and how you measure that can be very challenging.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Early Reading

When children are first learning to read at Magenta, we gift them the pattern of the language. What you are focusing on is now that they know the pattern you expect them to say the pattern. They should be pointing to the word. 

Magenta- What you say you must see, What you see you must say.

You said the, do you see the? They are pointing to nothing or on top of the word. Hold their finger. 

You should be reducing what you are saying. Can you hear me tap, I want to hear you tap. 

Sometime children at these levels will add words. The prompt for this is cover and "Have you run out of words to see?"

If they don't read all the words "Have you run out of words to say?"

We are reinforcing high frequency words You said.......can you see? on correct words first before you check on words they get wrong. 

Developing and reinforcing letter sound knowledge. You said ....... What would you expect to see for......? Are you right?"

This is an important foundation for reading knowing, direction, orientation and sequence. 

Word work:

Making and breaking high frequency word, I want you to make the word come. Find it in the book and make it. break it make it many times. Write it, check, rewrite. 

Making word: Always go make to the word they known word. Not, spot, dot, hot. Ask one child to make the word and them everyone says it. This can be done in the text or at the end of the text. 

Once children have these skills you are giving them options to check from. This again reinforces letter sounds and what I say I must see. 

Sometimes it is best to gift the correct word especially if the words start with the same letter for example waves and water. You said She ran in the water. This says "she ran in the waves" We know it is waves because it had v in the middle. 

Every time you prompt and fix is a great time to get them to read it again with the prompt read it like they are talking. Fluency develops through practice. Try putting these three words together, "The boy went" Then the next part "up the hill." Then put it all together. 

We want children reading for meaning and a huge part of this is rereading the sentence after finding. 

When they are stuck: 

"Try again and think....."

"Try again and think who runs down the hill."

When a text is a bit of a struggle, you might choose to read the texts together at the end it unison. "We are going to read this again like speaking." 

Helen said when she has a group come to her, she gets them to read the book from the day before then. She marks off their homework book. Then she does flashcards of sight words before her orientation. 

Instructional reading Middle Levels


Looking at a modelled lesson by the wonderful Rebecca was great. 

She started with a great recap of what they covered last time and praised the skills they already have. We need to do a lesson on talking. 

Who is going to reply? You young people are going to reply to each other. 

Introduction: This is a nonfiction story, this is a text with information in it. do you know why authors write texts with information in it? 

It's not just about reading its about thinking about what we are reading. 

From watching the lesson we saw the value of the words "Add on..." 

How do we build their confidence and oral language skills to talk and engage in conversation through listening, sharing and adding to the discussion. 

We can use think, pair, share and get the children sharing the idea the buddy talked about. 

She is bring in a lot of vocabulary bring in the real and complexed words. We need to have high expectation around the vocabulary. 

Modelling, If I read something and don't find as many benefits, I read it again. 


Reading professional learning

This year has been very busy and different but that does not mean that our focus on accelerating learning specially for those learners who are struggling. Our area of focus has been reading as this is an area where the data shows us we need to make shift to help our children get to the norm or ideally accelerate past it. 

What we have seen is that there is not accelerated progress and high achievement. 

We started the day by discuss the Model of literacy development. Moving from basic literacy, intermediate literacy and disciplinary literacy.  We are able to get children reading but not being critical reader and this means they do not always have the skills to read in a disciplinary way need for high school and life reading. 

We recap the understanding the reading and the teaching of reading is complexed and we need to have a process around, providing feedback, carefully plan instructional reading and an in-depth knowledge of the subject. 

We are focuses on our instructional group teaching. 
Today we are looking at how we orient the children to the text and how this varies for at different reading levels. 
We also need to front load language to provide children with support for them as they read. 

early level: The orientation is short and limits the possibility of what they might encounter in the book. Example: This book is called Baby Panda, this story is about Baby Panda and Mother Panda, they are in the snow,  Mother Panda doesn't know where baby panda is and Baby Panda has tp be careful because it is dangerous in the snow. 

During the reading, having a children reading, listening to each child at different stages and supporting them in their decoding. 

Middle level and above: Orientation might be slightly lower and focuses a lot of prior knowledge and understanding of what they might encounter in the text. Planning the thoughtful questions throughout the text. Toni uses sticky notes throughout the book to link back to the learning intention throughout her reading. 

Hearing children reading is an important and tricky challenge for teachers. We know from research and for experience that the best way to understand how children decode is hearing them read. It has been noted well across the literature that round robin reading breaks up the way we read. Listening to children read can been done by everyone reading and listening in or tapping to get children to read aloud. In unison reading is still useful.  

We want to provide a safe, support environment for reading in which every child can tackle the book at their own pace. 

With a larger group it can be ideal to move around the groups, this means you can hear the children well and really see their decoding. 

Monday, 12 October 2020

Words are a huge part of reading

 This year my inquiry focus has been on reading and trying to accurate reading learning for children who we reading below their chronological age. 

I have made a number of changes in my teaching ready for term 4 building in the changes I made earlier in the year. 

Towards the end of term 3 I finally had a chance to test the children 1-1 on their sight words. I expected this to be a significant challenge for the learners in my target group but was surprised that for the most part sight word knowledge sat at normal level. They knew sight words up to their current reading level. There were a view gaps that I will not more specifically in a future post. 

Given this new information I started asking if its not sight words which I still could be as they need the next set to progress forwards what is it? 

We have continued to us the Dr Gwyneth Phillips work around picking up the pace in literacy and I do believe that systematic use of these has supported reading however I still asked what am I missing. 

This is when I started thinking more about Phonics. We do phonics in context in our guided reading programs but that doesn't see to be enough. I started looking at the errors children reading between level 3 and 20 were making and so much of it came down to phonological knowledge. For example children were saying single letter sounds not blends, or mixing up vowels in the middle of words. 

I have taught for almost 5 years now and have not at this stage implemented a systematic phonics program. 

So given what I have found out what next:

Every day in Room 21 we do hand writing in the morning. Now I am going to use the more systematic phonics approach to this. I am drawing on the resources from the site progressive phonics who provide a step by step phonics program for free. I choose this as it allowed me to start at the Intermediate level in which they have a strong focus on blends and use poems, flash cards, games and more to learn blends and words in order. 

I still have a lot to do and the year is drawing to a close. perhaps phonics will be the missing piece that helps these kids to start to fly in their reading. I sure hope it is. 

I have also started to provide even more milage. Milage is something I know works to build fluency, word knowledge and over all reading ability. In order to do this each day I have had a buddy reading book along side the teacher supported book. 

My hope is that this will combat some of the effects of the two lockdowns. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Incredible bloggers

This year has been a year of challenge and difference for us all. One thing that has amazed me has been the volume of quality blog post shared by our year 3 and 4 learners. 

Yesterday in our Google Meet we took the opportunity to share some of the amazing work children had been doing. 

These 9 learners have smushed the number of blog post they did last year. Many of them have blogged over 100 blog post this year. 

Cayden today blogged his 200th blog post for the year. 
Why am I sharing this. You know the saying it takes pressure to make diamonds. While the pressure of learning differently has allowed many of our learners to step up and shine and I am so proud of them. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Hapara Certified Champion

Becoming a Hapara Certified Champion has been a goal of mine for a while. In fact I started the course last year but sadly could not complete it due to other commitments. 

This time around I was determined to do my best and show what I know about Hapara while hopefully learning some new tips and tricks along the way. 

I found the course very good and learned a lot of cool tips and trick while reminding myself about the power of this platform for support student learning and increasing visibility for teaching and learning in the classroom. 

I found it interesting learning more about workspaces as these are something used more at often in Manaiakalani high schools. Create my own workspace was a lot of fun and made we think about elements I could be adding my own site design. 

I want to give a huge shoutout to the Hapara team especially Randy Fairfield for all his support and positive feedback during this course. I really think that is one of the things that sets this course apart from other free professional learning you have a mentor guiding you as you develop your skills and Randy was excellent reaching out with offers of help at every stage and letting me work at a pace that worked for me. 

This is not an advertisement for the course but rather a reflection on my learning but might I just say if you have not done this course and you use Hapara teacher dashboard, I so recommend it. 

It feels great to finally have taken the time to do this and to be able to proudly say "I am a Hapara Champion Educator!"