Celebrating success as we go!

This week during syndicate meeting we all took the time to share some part of our Teacher Inquiry that has been going well.


ISTE - Feeding back

This week I ran a session at staff meeting on FAKE NEWS. I was able to repurpose the slides used in the session attended at ISTE to facilitate this, (many thanks to the presenters who allowed this)
One of the main activities we did was play a game created by Maggie Farley a veteran journalist. The game is called Factitious and staff were challenged to identify between fake and real news reports.

Give it a go for yourself here


Starting the term with a new scaffold

I have started the term using the new scaffold sheet that I put together last term. This uses the links that Jannie talks about as a way to represent the connections made in a conversation. The students seemed to find this template easier to use and the conversation flowed better than it has in the past. The removal of the 'prompts' meant students were using their own words and weren't as 'stilted' in their responses to the text and each other. My next session I want to focus on using words from the previous speaker to help link the conversation further. I also think using a non-fiction text was helpful as there were facts for the students to reference.


Monitoring our Interventions

At syndicate meeting this afternoon, we took time to look at the questions posed by Woolf Fisher about how we know our intervention is making a difference. Both in terms of the changes in the teaching and the changes in what the students are doing.

It is interesting to hear the evidence other teachers have collected to gather student voice, as well as track and monitor progress in informal ways.


Starting to see traction

Really happy with the session today. A lot of progress with the responses and comments idea. We discussed the idea of 'chains of conversation' before we started and I think this made a difference as we had a much better conversation and a lot of comments were being made about what other group members had said. This idea of conversation chains comes from the work we have been doing with Jannie van Hees. 

This slide of Jannie's talks about the scaffolders that will help students develop an abundance of language. It is interesting that the peer section matches what I am hoping to achieve with my students. Also as part of these sessions Jannie has emphasised the role of the teacher in introducing new vocabulary to the students. I am thinking of a way that I can be involved in the students discussions with out undermining the improvements I have seen in the students when the teacher doesn't take an active role. I feel that I do have the ability to introduce the extended vocabulary needed.

This is the template that I am working on and want to introduce next term. The idea being to build on having a conversation by adding links to the chain. Thanks to Ashley Schellingerhout for letting me re-purpose her template. 


Introducing new learners to the group

As I talked about in my previous post, I decided that I would add 2 new learners to the group as a way to spark some more conversation. This has the added benefit of making the group a mixed ability group. An unintended consequence, but a happy one, is that the original 4 students took the lead as they 'taught' the newcomers what we were trying to do. This has been an amazing change as we have had the most interactions that we have had so far. This ties in well with what Dr Hunter talks about in maths.

'Our achievement results for Pasifika children are “dismal, heartbreaking”, says Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter, but they do not accurately reflect their capabilities. Because Pasifika children tend not to talk, their teachers assume they don’t understand and put them in a bottom group. Once there, they become trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle of low expectations.'

It is interesting that we have grouped our students for instructional reading for so long that perhaps we have locked our lower students into a cycle where they are only exposed to talking about text in a way that is lowered by the abilities of the people in the group. If we are aiming for acceleration in makes sense that we try new things to break the cycle of what we have always done.

I am excited by the possibilities that this session has brought up. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next with this group of learners.


Where to from here?

  • I want to include 2 other students in the group to see if they can spark more conversation. This will also be an opportunity to include more than one boy in the group. 
  • I will continue to use the short text book format as this is how we can get as much mileage done in the time available, and what the students enjoyed.
  • I want to step away and see if they can fill in the sheet by themselves, this will also stop them from looking to me when they respond to the text.
  • After a few more sessions I wan to record the conversation and write up a transcript to see if I can identify trends in the responses and comments.
  • I also need to make sure I go over what the language of questioning with the group so that they know what sort of response is needed.
I am hoping to give this another 2 weeks and then do the recording and check in again with the students about how they think it's going.