Friday, 22 May 2020

Professional Reading Two: The Challenge of Challenging Text

Share three pieces of academic or professional reading and explain how they and other sources helped your form hypotheses about aspects of teaching that might contribute to current patterns of learning. (WFQ 7)
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Professional Reading Two: The Challenge of Challenging Text by Timothy Shanahan, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

This text is interesting in the way it compares reading to lifting weights. It discuss the idea that as we build up our ability to lift weights we add more weights and suggest we do the same in reading. 
I guess this is why we have levelled reading systems in our school. 

My question is what if you have been lifting 5kgs for 3 years but according to standard tests can't lift 10kgs yet. Do you stick with five and hope it build enough muscle our struggle with ten? If we put that question in terms of reading, if you have been reading level 5 since year 1 and are now in year 4 should you keep being given level 5 books or be pushed to a higher level with support? 

Reading this article was interesting here are some of the main ideas I learned from it:
  • Student should be purposefully moved through reading at different challenge levels to help them gain skills. 
  • Texts are made challenging not only by words but the way the form sentences. 
  • We often focus on topic specific words and not the more general terms that skill challenge learners. 
  • "complex sentence structures are necessary to communicate complexity of information itself..."
  • Demand if placed on students working memory when faced with challenging texts. 
What are my thought after reading this text? 
What is a challenge for one kid may be easy for another, this is why we differentiate right? But when students are differentiate does it mean they miss the opportunity to build complex knowledge? How can we build working memory complicity for our learners to increase ability to read longer sentences. Can vocabulary be taught outside of sentences and skill support reading, maybe not? 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Professional Reading One- Closing in on Close Reading

Share three pieces of academic or professional reading and explain how they and other sources helped your form hypotheses about aspects of teaching that might contribute to current patterns of learning. (WFQ 7)

Professional Reading One- Closing in on Close Reading By Nancey Boyles

Summary: This texts looks at the key ideas of close reading. Student being able to read the text closely focussing in on key vocabulary, ideas and asking questions as they read. It states "...Close reading can't wait until 7th grade or junior year in high school. It needs to find its niche in kindergarten and the years beyond if we mean to build habits that will lead all students to deep understanding of text."

Reading this article was interesting here are some of the main ideas I learned from it. 
  • Students who have close reading experience of challenging text no matter if they are struggling readers or not gain more proficiency. 
  • Close reading is about uncovering the many layers texts have and it often requires repeated reading. 
  • Focus on the text itself and not is wider world connects allows kids to connect with the key messages and develop word and sentence knowledge. 
  • Unpacking words at each stage of reading helps develop over all text awareness. 
  • Short texts can be useful for this as they provide an opportunity for more learners to engage with the same text. 
  • Students summarising in their own words is ore useful for comprehension development then quoting directly from the text. 
  • Students should be the ones to ask questions of the text, however teachers must be ready to model and support development of questions.
  • There is a table of question that I think might be very helpful to me. 
What are my thought after reading this text? 
As a teacher I still believe that wide reading is incredibly important and pervious inquiries I have done support that fact that the more you read the better you get. However this as made me question how much text I should explore in my group teaching sessions. Could we look at smaller sections of text? I also wonder if I do too much for kids in terms of questioning. How can I get kids asking more questions? I wonder if providing question ideas would help. This text had a very useful table that has ideas of questions and parts of texts to explore. My other question is how challenge can the text be especially for my target group and can support such as audio be used to bridge the difference or will this limit children's learning of decoding strategies? 

Self Study- Observations of my past reading teaching

Present findings from this inquiry about your teaching. Ensure qualitative data includes rich descriptions of your teaching and quantitative data is clearly presented. (WFQ 9)

This post shows the what I noticed about my teaching through observing a video. I looked back at the Class Onair lesson and noted what I saw in the first 5 minutes of direct instruction using the questions I had planned when identifying the areas to best help me identify my strength and gaps, see this blog post. 

Sadly I did not have an opportunity to get another teacher to observe at this stage of my inquiry due to Covid 19 measure and time restrictions. I hope to video more and get support for an outside observer to help me unpack this more in term 3. 

This video shows part reading lesson with my target group in early 2020. It is looking at a non fiction text and I wanted to look back a note how often I used the key strategies I hypotheses would cause change in reading achievement and reflect on these. 

How often do I provide specific vocabulary instruction? 
I got children to use the pictures to help them understand vocabulary. We used the the content page to look at words we did not know. During the lesson most of the focus was on topic specific vocabulary. I pulled out two words with the whole group to look closely at. Before reading students identified children 6 topic specific words. 

What does this vocabulary instruction look like? 
The instruction look like writing on specific words on the table. We broke them apart and some sight words were mentioned. It also used visuals like the pictured to get children to state words they would encounter in the book before they had to decode them. 

Does it relate to a sight word or topic specific word? 
Material is a topic specific word. We did look at the word 'mat' which is a word family sight word but missed the opportunity to look at how it connected word families. 
Funnel- Again this is a topic specific word. They used syllables to work it out and the sight word fun. 

How often do the children talk about the book? 
At the beginning of the lesson I used lots of why questions to get the children talking. They did not ask questions. Children had lots of opportunity to explain they words. However one child took control of this most the time. They did not take turns speaking and I did not step in to help them with this. 

Is this retell, connecting to their experience or asking a question?
The discussion centred round the words in the story. Child were not encouraged to ask questions or retell the story. This in part was due to the nature of the text. We did talk about what the book said. 

From this video I can see that I have a strength in introducing and supporting children with topic specific words and finding small words in bigger words. I am also good at asking why question and open questions like "What do you notice about..." I noticed that I got the children to explain the content page, but not really what a funnel was and that was a missed opportunity. I am good at listen to the children and catching moments to ask them to check for errors or help them understand words. 

Areas to work on:
There was no support in this lesson for sight word knowledge building, which I see as a real gap. I know that this group know a lot of sight words but they definitely still have gaps or they would be moving much faster. I did not give the children opportunities to ask questions and most of the the discussion was student to teacher not student to student. How can I get this more and skill be their to support them? 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Use the baseline data for a picture of student learning

Explain how some of the data you have used to build a profile of the students’ learning will be used as baseline data at the end of the year. (WFQ 6)
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Comparing data is an important part of teaching as inquiry as it allows us to see student progress and hopefully acceleration. Here is a link to the post my initial data. I am planning to use each piece of data in the following ways:

Reading Level:
I will look at the reading progress in the running records, these will be collected at least 3 times during the year. This will show changes in reading ability, decoding skills and comprehension. I will look specifically at the vocabulary in the books to see difference in known vocabulary and words attempted. 

Star Data: 
I will look at the overall star data and see if progress has been made in this test. I will also look at specific sections to see what improvements have been made in the areas of vocabulary. 

Student voice survey:
After the lockdown I will conduct a student voice survey to get student feeling about their own reading ability, confidence in reading and what they feel would help them. I will conduct this again at the end of the year to see what has changed and if this matched their formative and summative data. 

Teacher notes:
I will continue to take snapshots of my own notes taken during reading lesson and see if these match the the data I am collecting. 

As an additional interest of my own. I would like to take a reading book and look at the common vocabulary between the reading book and a piece of student independent writing. While I have not done a baseline sample of this I hope to do this after the Covid-19 Lockdown. 

By comparing all this data I hope to have a rich picture of students reading, focusing in on their vocabulary knowledge and confidence. 

How will I identify my current teaching practice.

Plan and conduct detailed inquiry into specific aspects of your current teaching that are relevant to the hypotheses you identified in the literature. Inquiring into your teaching should give you:
-Formative information about your current strengths and areas for development
-Baseline information that you can use at the end of the year  to provide evidence of shifts in teaching
-Use multiple tools such as self- or peer-observations, analysis of your class site, student voice. (WFQ, 8) 

In order to understand my current practice is relation to my hypotheses that a more rounded reading program with more discussion, student questioning and specific vocabulary teaching with increase reading ability I will use three measure to look at my practice in more depth. These are observation, reading site review and a student survey. 

In order to gain a detailed picture of my teaching practice my plan was to observe myself using video already recorded through Class Onair and have another teacher observe me teaching and provide some feedback. Both observation would look at, How often do I provide specific vocabulary instruction? What does this vocabulary instruction look like? Does it relate to a sight word or topic specific word? How often do the children talk about the book? Is this retell, connecting to their experience or asking a question?

Reading site review:
Look at a notes number of books provided, level, topic and main sight words in the book for a two week period. What does this tell me about book selection. Am I provide enough challenge. Does this reflect patterns of student word knowledge as reflected in teacher notes? 

Student survey: 
Conduct a student survey to ask about general reading behaviours and thoughts. Always asking specific questions about teacher practice. These questions will aim to gain and understanding of teacher reading practices including, frequency of reading, word work frequency, discussion frequency and opportunities to ask questions. 
Note it would have been ideal to have done this earlier but due to Covid 19 and my other CoL across school commitments this is sadly the first formal student voice I have collected. I will re conduct this survey in weeks 5 & 10 of term 3 and weeks 1 & 5 of term 4 to give a picture of change or not change depending on the results. I may also change questions as changes are made the the intervention. 

I believe this data will provide a great reflection point on the changes I have already made in my practice and future plans that I have. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Student Challenge

5. Share your findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge. Make sure it is clear what evidence from your inquiry supports each finding. (WFQ 5)

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At the beginning of the year we as a school discussed a need for accelerated shift in reading and maths across our school. This linked to the data we received from the researchers and our own school data. As a staff we talked about the challenges our learners face in vocabulary. This is an area we have not yet found the answers too. 

My Target group is made up of three are year 3 and the remaining 9 are year 4s. On the right is a graph of my whole class running record data, from this it is clear their is a huge ability difference between these children. 

From my teaching notes in term 1 I said:

"This group struggled with beginning sounds. They were not thinking about the meaning of words. They also struggled with the words 'shouted' and 'he'. We worked on beginning sounds finding words that start with k, f and s and writing them on the table."

These two boys "use each other a lot listening to each other ideas and not trying without support. I need to do more work with them on attempting and self checking."

"This group weren't attempting challenging words. We looked at how to break them into parts and they also did not know some of the animals." 

Over all these comments and the data point to struggles with vocabulary, letter knowledge and confidence to try and perhaps a fear of failing. I want to explore this more in a student voice survey.

The star data paints a similar picture for me. It raises the question, why are there such big gap between learners and what can be done to address the gaps in the area of vocabulary and confidence. 

I think based on the data that there is a significant need for more vocabulary exploration, amount of vocabulary children are exposed to and building of confidence as reader and more generally. Children need to be able to take risks and learn from failure and that is a huge area of develop in see.