Thursday, 25 November 2021

Planning for the future-Col 2022 Interview

What next, This is a look at my possible 2022 inquiry 

Which  Achievement Challenge are you considering as an area of focus in 2022 and why? Include in your WHY both evidence and your own passion/expertise

Lift the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13, The last two years have made consistency a challenge and I have noticed not only with my own class but across our school teachers discussing the challenge of children remembering and retaining knowledge of key mathematical fact needed for advancing in their problem solving. I think this is a good area for me to focus on as it is an area I have not inquired into for sometime. I also know now from over two years of inquiring into reading what is working for me and my class and accelerating many learners. See my burst and bubbles for more. Manaiakalani data also shows that mathematics is not accelerating at the same rate as writing. 

What learnings from the 2017 - 2021 CoL teacher inquiries have informed or inspired your thinking?
I looked at a range of blogs including most blogs from the CoL teachers from the year 2017-2021 who focused on this achievement objective. What I found was firstly that this was not an achievement object with a large number of Col Inquiry and that most focused on talk related to problem solving rather that foundation mathematics skills. 

How would your work support Manaiakalani pedagogy and  kaupapa?

We all know there is a need in mathematics across the country but we have data to show this need. Have a systematic, fun approach to developing and maintaining key knowledge required in mathematics that could be shared and that embraced learn, create share would benefit everyone. While I do not want to jump ahead an make assumption about my particular learners for this year data and observations across our current year 3/4 learners suggests that many benefit from movement and songs this is a widely seen cultural practice in most cultures. This also fit with what some Engage games are trying to achieve. 

Which elements of the extensive Manaiakalani research findings inform or challenge you as you think about this?
I like to think the the ideas what we have found work in writing and reading might be the key to support and challenging our thinking in mathematics. The idea of mileage if something we come across in both areas as a key to success in these curriculum areas. As is the ideas of wide and deep or T shaped literacy. I think drawing on these ideas and seeing how they might apply to mathematics could be of read benefit

How would you like to be supported in 2022 as you undertake this inquiry?
I believe the best support I can get in this inquiry is drawing on the experts in and across our schools already doing great things in mathematics. I also think conversations with Fiona, Aaron, Rebbeca and others have been key to my inquiries in the past and will I hope continue to support my inquiry next year. This year I worked more closely with others inquiring into similar topics and I think this collaborative inquiry style could support me again next year.  

How would you plan to support your colleagues in your school with THEIR inquiries and/or teaching in the area you are exploring?
SHARE, has always be a huge part of what I do. Ask for help, share what I have noticed ask what they are noticing and be a sounding board. You don't know what someone needs help with until you are asking. I pride myself on being available to help others whenever I can and will continue to be no matter my role in 2022. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Burst and bubbles

 This year my inquiry focus was initially on, How will using a variety of high interest texts and providing open tasks impact students critical thinking?  

This was fulled by a few areas of student learning I was worried about. Firstly in my class of 27 learner at the start of 2021 only one was reading at their chronological age, of those not reading at their chronological age all were at least a year behind with many being two years or more behind their age. 

This raised concerns for me but also prompted the question why? What is holding them back. 

I identified critical thinking as a focus when I noticed children across the class were not thinking about what they read, not asking questions about new words or ideas even though they expressed an enjoyment of reading. While critical thinking stayed as a focus vocabulary also became and area of need. 

To build a rich picture of these areas of need and strength each learner had I looked at a range fo data. 
-Running records
-PAT reading
-Star Reading
-Student voice interviews
-Vocabulary based Arbs task
-Picture description

This highlighted again challenges around vocabulary with students expressing frustration over not understanding what words meant. 

After collecting all this data I asked so what am I doing? 
I have focused my inquires on reading for some time now but have continued to take a very differentiated  approach to reading task and with groups not working on similar text and ideas. After doing some wide reading and connecting with the idea of wide a deep for juniors I decided to focus more on whole class teams. Using the same open task for all texts with the hope this would allow for more collaboration across reading groups and more exposure to vocabulary on a theme. 

Changing the activities was an easy but huge change that shifted the responsibility from me to the learners to do most of the thinking.

Overall I would rate the change in learning as huge, for many of the learners in my class reading as not come easily. Given term 3 shift data I feel confident that many learners have made great progress in reading. However I do state that this may not have all been from this intervention as many attended Quick 60 reading also. 

For me the most important learning from this inquiry was that making more work for ourselves and less work for the children doesn't help anyone. Children need to be the ones thinking, creating and doing for true critical learning to happen. I also want to note that never in this inquiry did the children say they disliked reading even given it was such a huge challenge for most of them. Their positivity I believe played a huge role. 

I also want to note that this reflection does not take into account the impacts of lockdown as I would have had to talk for way longer than 3mins to include that information. Please see my blog for more about that. 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Lockdown Reading reflections

Today we met as a home class to talk about what it has been like learning from the distance. I asked the children to think about how many books they had been reading. 

After that the children and I talked about what things they had read. 

We discussed What we like a dislike about reading during lockdown. 

Finally I asked the children to put themselves on a scale to show how they think their reading is progressing during lockdown. 

This information comes from a range of children some in and some not in my inquiry group. The results of this survey are mixed. some children feeling they are reading lots and progressing lot while others don't this shows the diversity experiences during lockdown. What this does not account for are the children who have not had the ability or opportunity to connect digitally. 

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Reading shift 2021

This data shows that during time at school many of the Room 19 learner not just those in my inquiry groups were making considerable shift in reading. I am aware that for some of these learner there was an additional intervention of Quick 60 reading. However learners who both did and didn't have this intervention have both made 2 years progress and 1.5 years progress which suggests that the classroom intervention played a role in this move in reading achievement. 

Monday, 1 November 2021

Reading during Lockdown

During Lockdown we took a team approach to distance learning. In order to make sure all learners had learning at/near their level we organised all five year 3/4 classes across our team into 3 groups of each subjects. 

This is our organisation for reading:

From Monday- Thursday each group has a reading task connected to one more more texts at their level. Then once a week they meet with a teacher to discuss one of these tasks and focus on specific needs of the group. During distance learning I took the middle green group. This group would have had a few of my inquiry learners however many of the learners from my class who would have been in this group did not engage in distance learning. This meant many of my inquiry group learners were in the higher turquoise Group working with Angela Moala. This is an example of weekly reading planning. This was done by our wonderful students teachers

This Class Onair Lesson provides an example of a reading lesson with my group who are working at a reading age of 7-8 years. 

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Distance learning in team 3 2021

 Over the past two years distance learning has become a tool in our teaching tool box. Each lockdown we reflect on our prior lockdowns and what worked and what might require changing. 

What has been a huge driver in our lockdown learning planning is consistency. Every day we talk to the children about 3, 3 blog posts a day, reading, writing and maths. 

We also have a structure that allows for learners to engage with learning that is manageable for them organising learning so that in ranges from level 1 to level 3 of the curriculum. We have found that this has meant we have maintained the interest of learners during this very long period. 

This Class Onair lesson gives a bit more detail around distance learning in team 3. 

Monday, 2 August 2021

Inquiry Mid Year Update

My teaching as inquiry this year has focused on accelerating achievement in reading. Specifically acquisition of new vocabulary and critical thinking. 

At the end of term 2 we conducted mid year testing to support the formation of our overall teacher judgement for report writing. 

One measure of data which I collected was running records to see what shift had occurred in reading ability. I used the PM Kit to conduct my running records as this provided a standardised measure that looked at decoding, comprehension and some vocabulary. 

Here is the data I gain from this assessment:

What does this show: First of all I must note that children with a * by their name have had additional support through the Quick 60 Reading Program. This is a well rounded support program aiming to fill gaps for the learners. Having this additional support means that for these learners it is harder to say which program Quick 60 or the Intervention have had the most impact. While students in Quick 60 have had additional reading their results are not all that different to those who were not in Quick 60 reading. 

There are 15 children in the inquiry group. All have made expected progress for 2 terms at school 0.5y. However for 3 children they have only made expected progress. GM3 is new so I have no historical data to look at to see if this GM only made 0.6 progress in year 2 and 0 progress in year  3. While GL made 0.3 progress in year 2 and 0.1 progress in year 3. For both these learners 0.5 progress in 2 terms is significant when compared to their historical progress. 

Seven children have made 1 years progress so far this year. This is half a years acceleration so far this year. So long as they continue to make progress I predict they will have accelerated shift this year. 

Four children have already had 1.5 years progress this year. That is accelerated shift.  My plan for these learners is to gain at least another 0.5-1 shift as they still have a way to go until they reach their chronological age. 

One student has made 2 years progress. This student has gain a lot of confidence as a reader. She still has 1 year to go to be working at an end of year 4 level and this is our goal for the end of the year. 

Friday, 30 July 2021

Then to now: A reflection on my teaching


Sitting here reflecting on my teaching I realised how positive it is that my inquiry is so connected to my 2020 inquiry and I have picked up the practice changes I made in 2020 and for the most part this was my pre intervention teaching. See my 2020 Inquiry for details. 

The one exception to this was that in 2020 I narrowed differentiation due to Covid I have not continued to do that in 2021. 

Another example of my pre intervention practice can be seen in this Class Onair Episode

In this episode the focus is on one texts and the ability to retell the texts in detail. 


During my Data collection stage in my inquiry I released that this was a real need for connected Vocabulary exploration and Deep diving into texts in a way that allowed for critical thinking. 

As a result I began to question having different groups focusing on different topics, theme or ideas during a week. I asked wouldn't it be great if the whole class could focus on the same theme? Wouldn't that provide opportunities for children to encounter and discuss vocabulary across instructional levels? 

This linked nicely to what Rebbeca Jesson had said in her presentation about T-Shaped Literacy for Juniors. 

So I started to begin each weeks reading planning with a Theme and a Question. 

From there I selected books that connected with the theme and books that challenges the theme. Each group has different books but the focus was similar. 

While the comprehension focus was similar, the decoding focus, words and skills each group had varied based on group and individual needs. 
The create tasks however were the same and allowed for children to think critically, write and discuss in their group and across reading groups. 

Early on in the intervention I gave them choose in the activities, however I found that completing the same activity for each text and then making comparison worked more effectively. 

Here are some examples of learning tasks

What I have noticed so far is an interesting amount of writing and as they become more familiar with the structure of the text the depth of thinking is increasing. 

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Inquiry - Causal Chain

When thinking about my inquiry it has been important to connect the actions I will take with the outcomes I expect to see. Google Draw link

Friday, 18 June 2021

Looking Closely at the measures

 As it comes to the middle of term 2 I have been thinking about what data I have collected on my inquiry group and how this might be repeated at the end of the year to provide a rich profile of change in student learning. 

Through taking this measure I have come to understand the issue and hope that through changed practice that I will see improvement and change across all measure at the end of the year. 

I have already repeated some measures including running records and will be sharing what I have seen in student shift in the coming weeks. 

Friday, 11 June 2021

Professional reading: T-Shaped Literacy


T-Shaped literacy is something I have been familiar with for some time. Rereading the article made me reflect on how I could and should be using this idea better. 

The key thing were: 
  • Wide reading is essential to vocabulary acquisition. 
  • A quote that really spoke to me from this research was "We also hypothesised that a condition for  acceleration of students of any ages is the opportunity to “do harder stuff sooner” in their  schooling."
  •  I found it interesting that this research found that "our observation data did suggest that much classroom talk focused more on the strategies that  students used for reading, than on the ideas that emerged from those texts"
What does this mean for me.
  • I have been trying to connect texts at every level through a share idea and bringing this discuss to the class.
  • I believe even more mileage and diversity of texts may be needed to extend my learners.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

T-Shaped Literacy for Juniors Year 1-3

Today we have the please of hearing the amazing Rebecca Jesson. 

We have been working around T-Shaped literacy for a while we have not seem this implement as well with junior learners. 

Wide reading

Is the notion that to learn about the world, to learn to read you need to learn widely. The benefits of wide reading go beyond school. If you think about the number of words you can say you learned them by talking and reading. There are many words we never say orally that we can read because we have read them in context. 

You get better at reading by doing it more!

We want children to be so engaged in reading that they want to read more. 

Wide reading looks like 5+ a day books. Just like eating vegetables for keeping our bodies and brains healthy we need to read 5+ to extend our brains and learn more words. 

But that is not enough. 

We want to do deep reading as well unpacking the key ideas and engage with texts critically. 

T-Shape literacy encourages us to use text sets that build ideas together. This allows learners to build understand over time. 

There are lots of different ways to think about texts sets. 

So why? 

-Build vocabulary

-Maintain decoding

-Build local inference 

When we as adults engage with a new concept we engage with multiple texts to draw conclusion. Research suggest that if you know something about it (have prior knowledge) it is easy to read about it. 

When we use multiple texts:

-Main text

-Simpler texts

-Complementary texts

-Challenge texts

So what does this look like at a junior level?

What is the big idea in the books. This can be found by looking at what the character learners and how they change during the story. 

Working together. 

What is the relationship between the main character and the side kicks. 

Likeable and unlikeable characters. 

By really thinking about this with learners from the moment they start school we are creating readers who are connected with ideas that they will engage with as readers for the rest of the life. 

So when planning we must ask.  What does this set of texts teach us. We are pulling the texts that are a bit different from a them. This leads to a provocation, this is a question or statement that can be engaged with on both side. 

Rebecca used a set of images to start the learning and provocation. Have some questions that we can ask for each book, then a big question that can get use connecting across texts. When coming up with this go back to the curriculum and think what is the area that connects best with the theme in the text. Prior knowledge should also be at the level of theme. Bring children to the new texts with some prior thinking. 

Creating a modelling book at builds around the theme. 

insist on evidence of what they think? 

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Professional Reading: Effective literacy practices years 1-4

This book discussed the idea of language development. It mentioned that children develop language overtime through the hearing of words. Exposure through listening, speaking and seeing are key parts of language development. 

As readers children use visual sources, the way in which the letters and words are group to understand new information.  

 "Fluent readers and writers draw on their prior knowledge and use all available sources of information simultaneously and usually unconsciously."  

  • This is the level of skill I want for the readers in my class. 
"Beginning readers and writers need to be taught to draw on these sources and to use them efficiently."
  • Students in my target group are currently moving from being beginning readers to become fluent readers however many are stuck drawing on all sources. 
  • Often they come to words that they have not encouraged orally. 
The texts suggest that a wide range if high interest text with explicit teaching and opportunities to speak and write are essential to moving from a beginning reader to a fluent reader and developing vocabulary.  

Professional Reading: The Reading Book

 I started my professional reading looking back at the reading book to understand what the key ideas behind vocabulary instruction are and what might fit with the needs of my learners. 

"The more words students know, the easier it will be for the to comprehend what they read"

This book talking about a vocabulary program and suggests that these for elements are needed in order for students to have comprehensive vocabulary to support reading. 

  1. Word consciousness
  2. Learning/teaching of individual words
  3. Learning/teaching of word-learning strategies
  4. Planning and encouragement that leads to independent reading
So what does this mean for my inquiry: 
This reading provided some good points to consider as I move into increasing vocabulary in my inquiry. As a teacher I feel individual word teaching is a strength of mine and something I do regularly. What I now need to work on is building learners interest in words and increasing their excitement more unpacking what they mean and connecting words in word webs. 


Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Collecting data Listening to reading

In order to gain a better idea of what children would do when the came across challenging vocabulary in texts I used the ARBs task The lion and the Monkeys. This task uses the text:  The Lion and the Monkeys,  School Journal, Part 1, No 1, Learning Media, 1987.

This task is at Level 2 of the curriculum and has a focus on vocabulary: The words in the text include: claws, finger nails, shiny, long, teeth, piano keys, clean, white, strong jaws, cheeks, yellow, soft, sharp ears, tufts, stroked, fast leg, silly, paws, furry, cuddly, cruel, roar, purr, warming gentle, cage. 

Question: What does the reading tell me about learner vocabulary and reading ability? 

During reading children often stopped at these topic specific words. Some had trouble decoding them which I expected give this text was slightly above their instructional level. Others were unsure of the meaning. When discussing the text with the children they noticed that their were many words they didn't know what they meant. 

What does this tell me? 

  1. One, decoding and vocabulary understanding are not separate for these learners. 
  2. Children need vocabulary not just for topic specific no fiction texts but across fiction texts also. 
  3. They need strategies

    to figure out what new vocabulary means.   

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Collecting Data Picture Vocabulary

During my data collection phase I talked with my CoL colleagues and they suggested that will early data pointing towards a need in vocabulary some data on oral language might help to understand the challenges for students in their learning. 

For this task I asked students to tell me what they noticed in the picture in as much detail as they could. 

What I noticed:
  • Children trended to state what the could see with little or no descriptive language. 
  • Some descriptive words were used including, swirly, beautiful, colourful, windy. GL used the words old fashioned and asked questions. 
  • BJ talked about the thing that attracts internet. This was a good example of missing vocabulary. 
  • GA4 described things as big, short, colourful and beautiful. 
What questions do I have:
  1. How do I build the vocabulary needed to talk in detail?
  2. What vocabulary is most critical to help students read across the curriculum?
  3. How can I developed students ability to build vocabulary knowledge independently? 

Friday, 21 May 2021

Student Voice

As part of my data collection, I sat down with 8 students from my target group to gain a better picture of their feelings about reading and what they saw as their strengths and needs. 

Below you will find their responses to a range of questions about reading. 

What was interesting about this data was: 
  • 7/8 students mentioned that they found words challenging with most making references to not knowing what they meant. 
  • All students shared positive view and attitudes towards reading. 
  • Most of the children talked about positive home reading experiences happening weekly with 2 making connections to special texts relating to their families. 
  • One student asked that I read to them more often, another stated she wanted me to explaining the words and text ideas in detail to them. Others mentioned helping them with word knowledge and breaking up words to understand them. 
What trends to I notice:
  1. Children have a positive attitude towards reading. 
  2. Children are aware that they have a challenge around vocabulary. 
What questions does this raise fro my inquiry: 
  • How can I use the childrens' positive attitudes to build vocabulary? 

Monday, 3 May 2021

Preliminary findings

Begin to collect evidence and data  and come to the next session ready to share your preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge i.e. using your baseline student data and evidence. 

Before reading this post I suggest you look back at a pervious post I wrote about the Catalytic Issue as I look back at progress in reading made by my target learners in their reading journey so far at Pt England School. 

As a start to understand my data I looked closely at PAT and STAR data. What I noticed was across my target learners their was very little variation when it came to over all achievement. Children in my target group had a star scale score of between 32-59 points, giving them a Stanine score of 1 or 2 against the end of year norm. 

Star Test Data

From looking closer at this Star Test data it was clear that students struggled with vocabulary which asks children to identify a synonym for a give word. Children in my target group all got less than 4/10 questions correct in this area. This poses a question around students wider word knowledge which, I now want to collect more data about. 

PAT Reading Comprehension Test Data

The PAT reading test showed similar but different result from the star with students in my target group scoring a scale score of between 2.6 and 18.1 with stanines ranging fro 2-4 with most children scoring a stanine 3. What I noticed when diving deeper into these score was that students did not have one text type they scored well on it tended to be one question for each text they got correct. From this I wonder if the vocabulary in a range of text types played a role in their comprehension? I also wonder what exposure they have had to a variety of text types. 

Running records

After doing a running record on each child in the group I found that many moved up a level more more during term 1. With one student moving up a year in term 1. From looking closely at the running records it was clear that the main error in decoding which they struggled was the topic specific language. Errors were not made on sight words or those easily decoded but tended to be on words that needed context to fully understand. For many of this group they still understood the text and were able to answer literal comprehension questions some struggled with the inferential questions. 

While there is still more data to analyse and doors to look behind the door that stands out for me from this findings is a need for vocabulary to be front and centre of my inquiry and perhaps exposure of a wider range of texts within a shared context. 

I am still working on building a more qualitative picture through the collection of student voice and more anecdotal data.  

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Tools the Measure

 Describe the tools/measures/approaches you plan to use to get a more detailed and accurate profile of students’ learning in relation to that challenge. Justify why you chose these approaches and tools.

The purpose of inquiry is to understand an issue in student learning and take considered and active steps to address the issue through intervention. 

As my focus in an issue on student learning in reading, I plan to use a range of reading assessments to understand the issues for student learning. 

First I will do a running record on all children in my target group. I will do this to get more qualitative data about their reading ability and comprehension. From the running records I will look closely at what is happening in the way of decoding, and comprehension. 

Second, I will look at standardised test data from STAR and PAT reading. I will look at this in comparison to their running record and note similarities and differences in achievement from one test to the next. I will also look to see if there are patterns within the group or outliers that suggest other areas of need. 

Third I will collect student voice about reading. Focusing on what they find challenging and what they enjoy about reading. This will provide some additional data to build my profile. 

Fourth: I will video my reading groups and note what I am seeing in the way or reading behaviours and  discussion behaviours. This will focus purely on what the students are doing. 

Finally: I will look back at reflection notes and note any interesting discovers I have had as a teacher this far in our learning. 


Monday, 12 April 2021

Catalytic Issue

 Explain why you judge this to be the most important and catalytic issue of learning for this group of learners this year (In chemistry, a catalytic substance is one which increases the speed of a chemical reaction. Catalysts offer an alternate pathway for a reaction to follow, with a 'lower activation energy.')  

To explain why is this a Catalytic issue for my learners I started by look at data on each of the learners in my target group range from level 15-20 a reading age of 6.5-8 years. By the end of the year children should ideally have a great age of 9 years of age. 

My target group is made up of 15 children, 7 reading at 6.5 years. 6 reading at 7 years and 2 reading at 8 years. The group has 9 girls and 6 boys. 

It is interesting to see that for many of these children shifted has been limited in their reading shift across their 3 years at school. 

Why I see this as a catalytic issue is the fact that student shift is so limited. This shows that what we have been doing as not has the deserved impact on student learning and something needs to be done differently. 

From conversations with learners about text their expression of opinions is limited. It often come in the form of a retell or something they directly noticed in the text. For example when asked what do you think about this story one learners said "It was about a bear." 

As such I believe that developing more curiosity about texts and becoming critical of what they read will making reading more meaning full and engage learners in more thinking therefore impacting their achievement in reading more generally.  

Monday, 15 March 2021

Why this challenge?

Describe how and why you have selected this challenge of student learning. Locate your inquiry in the context of patterns of student learning in Manaiakalani overall. 

It is never easy selecting only one challenge when I am thinking about inquiry. I always find myself asking what will have the most impact for my learners, my teaching and support other teachers. 

It became very clear at our sense-making presentation at the beginning of the year that there is a lot of work to be done around drawing on what we already do well in writing and capitalising on this in reading. It is also clear that my class fit the the pattern of reading data from Manaiakalani as a whole and our school data. They have not been making accelerated progress but are making small steps in the right direction. 

We chose to look at the critical thinking and creative responses as we saw from the data shared by Rebecca that while we as teacher feel this is an area we do well in it is really not at this stage. We theorised that if we put more responsibility on learners to think and create they will think more in depth about the texts they read. 


Friday, 12 March 2021

Teaching as Inquiry: What is the challenge?

Summarise the challenge of student learning you plan to focus on in this inquiry. Be as clear and specific as you can about the evidence you have about this to date.

This year I am working alongside side Angela Moala to collaboratively inquiry into the questions, How will using a variety of high interest texts and providing open tasks impact students critical thinking? 

This inquiry focuses on the achievement challenge Lift the achievement in Reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Māori students (both genders) years 1-13. 

I chose to continue working on this challenge as it is clear that we are not making enough shift 1.5 years or more for all learners in reading. While students seem to have developed a voice in their writing process and this has empowered them to become writers and story tellers who write often and make significant shift in their writing ability these skills are yet to transfer to reading. So from a general stand point I know we as a team of teacher still have a lot of work to do to really get children moving in this area. 

We also chose this focus as a way of responding to the though provoking presentation Rebecca Jesson's in which she encouraged us to think about the practices we had used to gain success in writing and how these could become part of your reading program. 

The main reason however is the reading levels of the learners in my class. This year in my year 4 class currently 26 out of 28 learners are reading below their chronological age. 

This paints a picture of need in reading in my class. 

Friday, 5 March 2021