Reflecting on my Kahui Ako Inquiry

My inquiry this year was based on research more than ever before. I think that the students and I have  a good understanding of 'talking about text' now and I have tried different things with my teaching and learning this year. The original idea came from Aaron's research. As I attend different PD sessions over the year I included more ideas into the sessions with the students. One of the most memorable was including the image of a 'conversation chain' from Jannie van Hees. Most recently the PD session with Cynthia Greenleaf in looking at a text and using it as the basis of a critical thinking conversation.

I think I now need to consolidate all the learning over this year and really spend time working with groups across the whole class to implement 'taking about text'. I believe that all students can benefit from doing this activity. In doing so they are building their oral language skills, as well as being able to give opinions justified by information in the text.

The focus on reading comprehension through oral language was a new area for me to explore and I have leant some good skills in being able to let the students lead the discussion. I found myself needing to ask less questions and being more of a prompter when students got stuck.

One of the interesting side benefits for me has been more regular collection of student voice. This is son easy to do both via google forms and informally with discussing progress using running records. I was pleased to note that the students were proud of the gains that had made over the year.

Where to next - I would like to continue using these sessions across the whole class to build students skills not only in oral language but also in comprehension and critical thinking.


Testing results and some conclusions made

We have just completed the end of year testing this week and have our results in. While the standardised testing results were a mixed bag, I was very happy with the on-going improvement in the Probe data of my target group.

The students made excellent progress with shifts of between 1 and 4 years.

I think that one of the reasons that the students did consistently better with the Probe testing rather than the PAT of STAR testing is the focus on oral language. The students started the year very reluctant to talk about what they were reading but by the end of the year they were able to answer questions much more readily.

I made quite a few tweaks and changes to what I was doing with the students over the year. I modified the group, the recording sheet twice and finally changed the mode of the text.

Looking back I think I would start at the end, and begin the year with discussions around an image. I don't know if it was all the practise through the year but the discussions around an image seemed to flow the best. I think there are a number of factors that made this easier for the students: they had the image in front of them, there were no wrong answers just what they could see, they didn't need to flip pages to find information to justify what they could see. When we expanded on the discussion to what might have happened before the photo and after the photo, they were all able to come up with ideas that were plausible from the image in front of them.


Unplugged: The show. Part 7: Sorting networks

I really enjoyed the session with OMGTech. We started with this activity from CS Unplugged that talks about computer science without needing a computer. A very cool way to demonstrate coding and binary decision making.


Using images as our 'text'

One of the main ideas I took from the PLD with Cynthia Greenleaf last term was the idea of using images as the text to be read.

I sourced images on-line to use as the conversation starter with my students. The images are from the NY times section - What happening in this picture. Here is the link. The pictures are drawn from the newspaper and have the captions removed, there is a moderated forum for students to comment and have an on-line discussion about the images. The pictures are selected to provoke conversation.

My students enjoyed the difference in having a picture to look at instead of discussing a written text but they thought it was harder to do. I think this may change as they have more opportunities to discuss visual texts. I was pleased with the depth of the conversation, especially when talking about what might have happened before and after the image was taken. They were able to come up with complex themes and build on each other's statements. I'm looking forward to seeing how this progresses over the next few weeks.

Term 3 check in with students

I have sent a google form to my target students to reflect on the progress they have made in reading this term. Here are the responses, when they were asked how having the conversation chains helped their reading.

Because it helps me be confident with my reading.
Yes because l can link my ideas together/
yes because my make the group to collaborate to make us what they learn and the other person commented what the person
Yes because it helps me use different part of a text to make an new text

They are positive about the changes in their reading abilities. This is encouraging because they can see for themselves the progress they have made. I like that they have identified learning with and from each other as this is a focus of our learning space.


DFI - Session 4 - Google sheets tips and tricks

Learning little tips and tricks that will make my life so much easier! My two new favourites are both in sheets.
Being able to split names. This is huge! I have spent so much time typing out names that import from my SMS into one cell. This is a fantastic add-on that is included in the power tools that I have downloaded and will now have open at all times. Even if it's just for the one click add column or add row.
The second tip I discovered is the function - sparklines. This allows you to put a small visual of the data in a cell at the end. Saves having to make a graph if all you are wanting to track are trends over the data.
Two very cool tips I will be incorporating into the EoY data analysis that will be coming my way shortly.