Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Summary of my teaching strength and next steps

Write a reflection in which you summarise your main learning about your teaching and next steps. This will prepare you to design an intervention next time. (WFQ 10)

What have I learned about my strengths?
From all the data I have gather it is clear that one of my teaching strength in reading is getting children excited to and wanting to read. Even my target group who struggle with reading for the most part love doing it. Only one children said he didn't like it and I suspect this is due to not doing it regularly enough to gain enjoyment from it. 
I also feel Mileage is a strength but an area I can continue to work on. The children did feel listen to and that they had an opportunity to talk and I noted that I often use why questions during lessons. This I feel is a real positive and was an area I might have jumped to as a need when perhaps it is not. 

Next steps:

Sight words and building word knowledge. I really feel from this data that words are the gap, the sticking point and an area I should be able to change quickly and with thoughtful planning maintain. I think part of this is text selection and being clear on why I am choosing not just one book but a series of books. 

I also need to think about the talking that is happening in groups. Is it all Me to the children and them back like I saw in the video. If so how can I change this? or is this what it should be? What is the best use of this limited group time? I noticed kids were not asking questions. What is the impact of this? Is a question I will be asking and researching moving forward. 

I have already made changes in my teaching to adjust for some of these learning but I have many more to make if I want to really fill the gaps and make a meaningful difference in reading achievement. 

Monday, 29 June 2020

A gift for me and Room 21

This term I have had the wonderful privilege of working with Debbie, Karen, Aamel and  Lucy during their two week online practicum.

From the moment we first met on Google Meet I could tell they were a hard working bunch of ladies who were eager to learn all they could on their journey to becoming incredible teachers.

On Thursday the 25th of June at 2:35pm just after saying Good Afternoon to my outstanding year 3/4 class I open my emails and ran full of excitement to show my Co-Teacher what my student teacher had created.

In just two weeks they had clearly taken all we had talked about, looked closely at my class blog, the learners blogs and the curriculum and this had lead to a very special and exciting gift not only for myself but for the learners of Room 21.

This site aptly named Maths Fun, is a sequence of learning for the topic of position and orientation. From the moment I opened the first page I was filled with excitement for what the learning would look like in my classroom. Like I said to the training teachers "I am in love with what you have created!"

Here are the reasons why:
The home page has the cutest  introduction videos from each of them really letting the learners see who made this for them. 
The topic of the site is clearly introduced. 
They have used Kahoot, which they knew from discussion is engaging and exciting for my class. 
The topic is broken up into clear parts which would make up lessons or week long units. 

Each topic is engaging with awesome activities such as battleship, find the Pokemon (using the children's own creations), Movie making with positions and a Quiz about directions in our very own school. It is clear to see real thought has been put into this. 

I want to once again thank these wonderful training teachers for their hard work. I can't wait to test out this amazing site with my class and I am sure they will love it as much as I do. 

I will share how it goes later this week. 

Online Student Teachers

Ever since my first day in the classroom I have waited eagerly for the day I would be able to have my own student teacher.

I guess this is because of all the amazing Associate teachers I had and the many mentors who have supported me since then. Looking back I know that each one of those people gave me a gift. From all I have gain curriculum, from some I learned patience from others I learned to have high expectations and from all I learned to be a teacher is so many other ways.

So when the opportunity arose to be an online Associate Teacher for the group of training teachers in the graduate program I literally jumped for joy. This was it, my chance to give back the gift so many wonderful teacher had given me. Little did I know that I would get a much greater gift from my student teacher than I could ever give them.

Before our first meeting I emailed the training teacher to set up a time and shared with them this video that the children in room 21 helped me to create to give the teachers a feel for our classroom.

This movie is movie is just for your Debbie, Karen. Aamel and  Lucy.

Only moments after I sent the email I had response and the lovely ladies had commented on our blog.

Only a few days later we met on Google Meet for the first time. Our meeting was a whirlwind of ideas, information and conversation.  I tried my best to collate all we talked about into a Google Doc so that they could refer back to it. I also gave them their task description, as these student teachers could not be with us in person they were asked to look through the kids blogs, comments and collaborate to create a set of learning activities to meet the students needs.

I asked for, During level 2 we look at position and orientation. This proved to be a challenge for the children. They struggled with the vocabulary of position: in front, behind, beside, under, over etc North, South, East, West and so on. They began using grid coordinates and needed more work on this. It would be great if they could have a learning experience using a range of positional language and working with grid coordinates. This will be with the learner in my class working at and above a year 3 level.

From this we discuss them each taking an area and creating a task for the learners. We talked about games as a way of engaging the children. We talked about the interests of the kids and how these can be motivating factors in learning.

During the two weeks the training teachers had to create their learning activities I had a range of questions from them. However these questions for the most part were content and learner focused and not digital skill focused like I had expected.

Reflecting back I remember 3 days before our second meeting feel concerned that I had not supported them enough when I heard other teachers talking about their training teachers asking for digital support.

What I learned was that if they had needed it they would have asked but they like any great team had been drawing on the resource of each other, the internet and the university and had save only the questions about my learners that no one else could answer for me.

The site they create is exceptional and therefore deserve a blog post all of its own. I feel so privileged to have had three amazing student teacher, who are self driven, hard working, thoughtful teachers  already. They have shown me they take children learning seriously and what to use all they know about a group of children to create content that inspire and challenges them.

Thank you so much Debbie, Karen. Aamel and  Lucy for inspiring me with your passion and commitment to children's learning. 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Student Voice- What we say about reading and the teaching of reading.

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)

I conducted a survey for two reasons. One I wanted to gain some student voice on how they felt about reading and their own strengths and areas of need. I also wanted to see what they had to say about my teaching strengths and needs.

It was interesting to see what they had to say. Here is a link to the survey
1.I like reading..
Scale of 1-5 Not at all - it is my favourite
2.What I find hard in reading is...
3.How many books do you read in a day?
4. How often do your teachers listen to you read?
5. I get to talk about my book
Scale of 1-5 Never-Always
6. My teacher helps me practice new words
7. I can ask questions about my book....

Here is what each of the 8 student here on the day of the survey said. 4 children were alway and I will add their data on as soon as possible and 1 child has left the school and therefore is no longer in my target group. 

Summary of results:

Question One: This question asked about attitude toward reading. Mostly they had very positive attitudes toward reading with many saying it was their favourite thing to do. This did not surprise me as even though they struggled they always try so hard and get read every opportunity they have.
One children put 1, I ask why he said "It is hard."

Question Two: All children stated they found new words hard. Many said accurate reading without stopping. Interestingly using the pictures was challenging for some as was talking about the book. Most felt they understood the stories well.  

Children said they read 1-3 books a day. I feel this could be increased more to get more mileage. Perhaps a question about where they read might help paint a picture of how to increase this. Children all said they read to their teacher 3-5 or more times a week. This means I am getting the group coverage that I need.

Most children felt they got to talk about the book a lot however I cam concerned that there is not equity in this. One child feels like she never gets a turn to talk and this worries me. Asking questions is something they feel they get to do less, however this is much more regular than I expected based on my observation and teacher notes. 

This graph is the most interesting to me as it shows wide inconsistency between kids. It does not suggest if this word work is new sight words or topic specific words. Perhaps adding a question about practicing small words I know would help to understand this better. 

From this I am sure I need to work on this area in my teaching more. 

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Self study- Reading site review

Ready to read | Learning from home
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)

In this reflection on my teaching I looked at 2 books for each of my three reading groups that make up my target learners for this inquiry. The group in made up of children reading below Green (Level 12, reading age 6 years). I looked at the word count for each book. Main sight words, main topic specific words and made a judgment on overall change. As they are all levelled texts challenge is some what obvious but this gave me a better picture of my text selection early in the year. 

The reading colour wheel | Parents.education.govt.nz
Rowing (Red, reading age 5.3 years)
Books 1, I like worms (Sunshine classics)
Word count: 86
Sight words: I, like, for, and, in, my, a 
Sample of topic specific words: worms, lunch, tea, skinny, soup, pizza. 

Book 2: Kitty Cat (PM)
Word count: 57
Sight word: here, is, a, look, at, comes, the. 
Sample of topic specific words Kitty cat, hungry, butterfly, Lizard, Fat?, 
Word family at, cat, fat

Teacher notes stated "Students were excited to read." "They need a lot of prompting to fix errors." "They were not looking at beginning words of sight words and were guessing, until prompted." "They struggled with I like worms due to the increased difficulty of the vocab."

Rugby (Yellow, reading age 5.6 years)
Book 1 Mothers day (PM)
Word count: 118
Sight words: Look, at, my, said, will, where, are, the, they, here, like, in, is, I, am, and, up, a, for, he, day, dad, mum, 
Sample of topic specific words: Mother, card, Emma, pens, forgot, breakfast, tray. 

Book 2 The little car (PM)
Word count: 123
Key sight words: Back, come, his it, will
Other sight words: said, look, my, and, the, can, go, here, is, little, where, for, big, not, see, in, went, away. 
Sample of topic specific words: Rachel, Sam, car, green, leaves, garage. 

Teacher notes stated "Group have come back with more confidence and are attempting more words." "Need prompting to go back and fix mistakes." "One child really struggling with topic specific words, said bucket for bowl, need word on noticing middle letters." "Did not know the word was in Mother's day." "Need to word on word family ay, ake."

Surfing (Blue, reading age 5.9)

Book 1: Open your mouth (Sunshine)
word count 185
Sight word:your, the, big, said, to, little, I'm, going, you, a, an, little, and, some, is, it, or, no, come. 
Sample of topic specific words: cat, kitten, hen chick, puppy, dog, surprise, eyes, mouth, open, close, give. 

Book 2: The missing socks (Ready to reads)
Words count: 205
Sight word: was, for, his, and, but, were, the, on, dad, I can't, my, are, they, no, said, she, in, the, ask, have, you, look, looked, mum, saw, taken, ran, out, through, across, into. 
Sample of topic specific words: socks, Jack, Noodle, pounced, rugby, boots, bedroom, pulled, lounge. 

Teacher notes stated,  " they are struggling when they make errors to notice that it does not make sense." "Keep working on sight words and noticing as this is a real need."

Overall from this analysis what I have noticed are three main this:
1: There is a real difference between PM, Sunshine and Ready to reads at the same level, PMs have high sight words with limited topic specific, Sunshine have more equal sight word to topic specific and ready to read step up in complexity significantly. 

2: I am not very good at reflecting on specific word errors, sound errors and comp issues. My reflections are very general and lack the detail needed to really dive into changes and issues.

3: Sight words, sight words, sight words, this is a big issue for all group but I don't spend enough time on it. I also need to be more careful in my text selection to make sure this are covered. 

I also have a question for my self about text length. if 205 words is all they are exposed to is that enough? If I am not exposed to a year 3 text can I become a year 3 reader? or year 4 text and year 4 reader? What is the right level of challenge, independent and shared text for these kids and how often should they read them? 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Reading about vocabulary.

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)
What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary ...

Book: What every primary teacher should know about vocabulary, chapter 2 The nature of words. 

I read part of chapter two focusing on word frequency. 
What I learned from this section:
  • Having a estimate of the vocabulary size of the children is important. 
  • Knowing what words they need to know is important. 
  • Words are high frequency or low frequency in a text. 
  • Only seeing a word once and discussing it will not cause knowledge of a word
  • Children need repeated exposure to word to really know and understand them. 
  • Low frequency words can make understanding a text very challenging for learners. 
  • High frequency words must be learned before moving on to lower frequency words. 
  • Word family understanding can help children better understand words from root words, prefixes and suffixes. 
So what:
This book has so much in it I have to chunk it into very small parts to gain the value I need. From this section I have learned to think carefully about vocabulary. I adds to my understanding that the gaps in student knowledge may in fact relate to high frequency words/sight words. Will plugging these gaps cause the shift I want in reading? Is there more to this problem? What is the best way to teach sight words? Is it root, in context or some other way I am yet to think of? 

What is the best way to develop wider vocabulary knowledge in literacy? Are these learners ready for that? What will have the biggest impact now without effecting the current high levels of motivation?