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. 

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