Thursday, 21 November 2019

Bursts and Bubble Reflecting on my inquiry

I am excited to share my inquiry in 3 minutes at our Bursts and Bubbles. Thought, Idea, Innovation, Imagination, Inspiration



The catalytic aspect of student learning for my inquiry was gifting vocabulary across my literacy program in an effort to increase overall literacy achievement for my learners.



I identified this as my focus when I noticed that while the cluster wide and school wide data showed a need to focus on improving reading many of the learner in my learning space were struggling writer coming into year 3 writing at a 1B level.



The sources of evidence and data I used were from both the areas of interest for me and my learners. I used Star Reading data, Running records, e-asstle writing data, samples of writing taken from the learners writing books as well as my own observational notes of students reading and writing behaviours.

The main patterns of student learning I identified in the profiling phase were that learners were writing very short stories that were lacking in the areas of ideas and organisation. They also struggled with decoding in reading with all 11 learners in my target groups reading at a year 1 level. While they were eager learners they often struggled to get started and to attempt unknown words in both reading and writing.



My profiling of my own teaching looking back at previous years data showed that I made  good progress in reading using my current approach. I noted however that when teaching writing I was not gifting the amount of language I suspected was enough to support vocabulary acquisition and retention in reading or writing.  This led me to think carefully about the gifting process in my teaching when the introduction of texts for reading, engaging learners in a writing experience and throughout the writing process.



The changes I made in my teaching were carefully selecting language when introducing learners to their texts in reading. I also worked on intentionally gifting language throughout the writing process and making this rewindable the use of audio clips in the explain thing activities. During my implementation I notice that writing was still short and that sight word writing was holding learners back. This is when I worked on building automaticity of sight words in context.



The literature/expertise that mostly helped me decide what changes to make were looking back at the inquiries in this area conducted by others in the past. I also drew on the professional learning from Jannie Van Hees and took the ideas she shared in CoL meeting and team meeting into my practice.



Overall I would rate the changes in student learning as interesting The evidence for this is that student achievement in reading was great with all but 2 learners making over a years progress and 2 learners making over 2 years progress. This is significant for these learners when compared their progress in previous year. While learners writing length increase this did not translate into shifts in writing level on the e-asttle test. I wonder if more regularity in implementation of approach would change the impact. 

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Reflect on your professional learning

Image result for teaching as inquiry
4. Write a reflection on your own professional learning through this inquiry cycle.

This inquiry has been a big cycle of learning for me. I have found myself asking many question like:
-Why is my reading shifting at a rate much faster then my writing?
-Why has my change practice not had the impact I had hope?
-How much time did I really spend on my changed practice and was it enough?

This inquiry as made me go back and think carefully about the practice that I may have lost over the years. I has also made me reflect on the most important parts of the writing and reading cycles.

To do this I have looked at the effective literacy practice books year 1-4. This lead me to change my practice and work more on who was writing. This was a key idea of Dr Jannie van Hees when she talked to us about the apprenticeship also.

I have learned a lot about what doesn't work also. The main thing I have found is that too much change too fast does not affect the change. In the future I want to be careful about all the elements I change and maintain the change over a longer period of time with more careful and close reflection on each individual element.

I also reflected that my classroom trend is different from that of the cluster data. I wondered if perhaps I need to draw on more experts within the cluster to change my practice. Perhaps more data gathering would be of benefit. I wonder how to best locate teacher in year 1-3 making significant shift in writing.

This inquiry has lead be to believe I still have a lot of work to do in my practice and as I reflect and discuss this challenge with many of my colleagues.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Overall evaluation of your intervention

3. Write an overall evaluation of your intervention in terms of the causal chain you had theorised. i.e. To what extent was the intervention successful in changing factors such as teaching? To what extent were those changes in teaching effective in changing patterns of student learning?

Early in my inquiry I identified two key changes and theorised that impact of these changes see this blog post.

While I made these changes I found that due to a number of factors including, time in the classroom, changes of classroom teachers and inconsistency in my ability to regularly deliver these changed practices caused a lack of repetition in my approach.  From my earlier inquiries including my 2016-2017 inquiry into reading fluency. I know that consistency and repetition of a teaching approach are important in creating learner growth.

While I wouldn't say my intervention failed I believe I did not give it a change to really succeed. While some of the factors that prevented this were beyond my control such as my co-teacher leaving, many were factors I should have had more control over. In future I will implement my intervention earlier and monitor myself better. For example making notes of how regularly I implemented each element and giving each element more time to work.





Thursday, 14 November 2019

Summarise evidence of key shifts

2. Summarise evidence about key shifts in the problem of student learning.

The shift I have seen in Student learning are.

Improved length of writing. This can been seen here in this blog post with evidence from one of my inquiry focus group. However I expected this to translate into improve E-Asstle writing score which it did not. I believe this is due to quality not equalling quality of writing. E-Asttle score levels show overall only Two learners have moved beyond 1B while the rest remain as 1B writers with little to no change in scale score they.


I believe this lack of change is not due to a lack of changed practice but due to a lack on time spent on this changed practice. Perhaps it is many changes that were not implemented over a long enough period of time that lead to this lack of change in writing. 

At the beginning of this inquiry I hypothesise that a connections between reading and writing programs would help by 1B writers move beyond 1B while using practice I know work to improve reading. 

What I have found is that I can maintain the improvements learners make in reading however I am not yet able to make these same improvements in writing. 


My reading data when compared the reading level data on the same children from 2017-2018 that 9 out of the 11 learners have made more then one years shift compared the the slow shift of 6-9months they made in the 2018 school year. It also shows that 2 of the learners have made 2 or more years shift. Out of the group two learners did not make significant shift. These learners were both boys. One had large length of time away from school. The other has some interesting reading behaviour including very slow disconnected reading which I would like to explore more.
It is interesting looking at the shift termly and seeing that for most learners the shift happened pretty consistently throughout the year. 

These graphs show the same data but this time by reading age. Two learners in this focus group have moved to expected age for year 3, additional 6 have moved from over 2 years behind to just 1 year behind expected age. One learners made very little shift in age but made many levels and this is significant for him as he faces a number of other challenges in his learning. 
While I am disappointed in the key shifts this year in writing the reading data gives me great hope. I do feel I need to think more about the characteristic of reading shown by the two learners who made limited shift and what I can do to address this. Much more thinking is needed to my part around writing reading connections and who I can pull my strengths in reading teaching to support my teaching in writing. 


The Key changes I have made in my inquiry

1. Summarise evidence about key changes in teaching and other factors that influence student learning.

At the beginning of the year it was clear that there was a huge need for my learners in writing and reading. See this blog post.

This need lead me to look at my practice and think about what I was doing and what changes needed to be made to address the clear need in the data. As a result I tried a number of different practice aimed at building vocabulary in literacy and building writing capacity and skill.

As a result I tried a number of different things. Looking back perhaps to many different things and nothing for quite long enough but my practice definitely changed.

Each term I made a change based on reflections on student engagement, data and need.


Early in the year, Chrissy and I worked together with a focus on building oral language and written language through connection of reading and writing with a strong focus on oral record. We did this by focusing on an element of text, setting, character and plot for 1-2 week blocks and this being the main focus of all reading and writing with an aim of building descriptive language around each element.







This is an example of the children's created character and shares the same feature as the reading activity. 




Here are some example of what this looked like. We found that well the language used within their activities was similar to that they already had and that this was not maximising gifted language the way we had hope. Gifted language was used more in writing however.


Also in Term 2 (See blog post) I looked at how I could gift more language using the digital technologies. I found myself over gifting which and the learners were so overwhelmed. I learned from this experience.

In Term 3 we had some wonderful team professional development with Dr Jannie van Hees this made me think about the things that are missing in my program. What am I doing about sight words. I started using this approach and the kids said "I like writing the little word." "I write more this time."

I also filmed this lesson for my Manaiakalani Google Class Onair.