Thursday, 14 March 2019

Within school CoL: Intro to Inquiry

This year, I am going to be modelling the teaching as inquiry process as part of my role as a within school CoL teacher for Pt England School and Manaiakalani. I am fortunate to be part of MIT19 this year as well, which means I will be able to focus in on my chosen inquiry topic through two different roles. I have already attended a MIT19 two-day hui where we worked on refining our inquiry problems and began creating a prototype for a tool which we will use as part of our inquiry.

Here is the Manaiakalani Teaching as Inquiry Framework which we follow.

Over the last 5 weeks, my inquiry has been sitting in the LEARN section of the framework. As I begin creating a prototype and my idea of a tool begins to grown, I will be moving my thinking into the CREATE aspect of the framework. 

To begin thinking about my inquiry, I have looked at a number of inquiries from previous CoL teachers. This was a challenge due to the nature of my inquiry which I am undertaking this year. Below, I have posed my inquiry challenge and have followed this with several relevant links to previous CoL teacher inquiries:

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.

My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Relevant previous CoL teacher inquiries:

Anita Unka (Stonefields School): Anita has explored the importance of creating a culture to empower learners to take ownership for their learning through student agency. This is relevant to my inquiry topic, where I want to be empowering children to be cybersmart citizens through use of child-friendly and rewindable resources. 

Clarelle Carruthers (Pt England School): Clarelle is looking at how to make teaching and learning more visible and rewindable. This is relevant to my inquiry topic, where I want to be giving children resources which can be accessed anywhere and at any time.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

2019 Inquiry Proposal

Manaiakalani Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning) Achievement Challenge 5: To improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ Key Competency using language, symbols and texts.

My MIT19 Inquiry Problem: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

The following slides explain the beginning of my inquiry for 2019. This is a working document which has already been updated over the last couple of weeks. Slides 3-5 are updates to my inquiry problem as I have problem solved and taken part in discussions with my MIT19 colleagues.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Children using anchor points in their blog posts

Anchor points are hyperlinks that take you to a particular section of a site page. As a team, we have always found anchor points useful on google sites to create buttons which link directly to a particular task on a site page. However, when we began using new sites, anchor points no longer existed which meant we had to change the way we linked children to tasks. Part way through this year, I noticed that anchor points had returned AND in a much more user-friendly way! We decided to teach anchor points to the children during a cybersmart lesson on creating higher quality and more meaningful blog posts.

It was really positive to see how the children responded to this lesson and took on board the learning. Watch the screencast below to learn how children can use anchor points in their blog posts.

Below are some examples of children using anchor point hyperlinks in their blog posts:

Nina (maths)
Nina (writing)
Zoe (literacy)
Simon (reading)

Monday, 22 October 2018

DMIC - formative assessments

This year has been about learning how to do maths the DMIC way! As a result, we have found it challenging to know how best to assess learners. Angela and I discussed this and thought about whether we could do pre/post tests for new topics in DMIC. We could pre test on a Friday morning (or start of a week) and then post test once we have been teaching for several weeks on a particular topic.

We are currently in the process of trialling this. We started term 4 by doing a pre-test, which many of the children really enjoyed!! This was a straight forward test which was simply numbers! There were no word problems and this was purposeful. We see the children having to decipher word problems and then find the maths embedded in it every day when we do DMIC maths so we wanted to see what maths the children could do without having to first decipher a story. We know that for some of our strong mathematicians in the class, having to read and understand a story adds to the difficulty. Removing the story would allow these children to focus on the maths.

We got some fantastic data from this test which told us a lot about what the children in our class can actually do. We had children who we thought could only add 1 or 2 digit numbers attempting and, in some cases, being able to solve simple decimal problems just by applying their knowledge of place value. This ability to apply their mathematical knowledge confidently suggested that many of the children in our class are willing to take risks in their maths learning. It was also very clear from this test which children were able to share their thinking step by step.

When exploring the responses of the children who are challenged to share their thinking in a group setting, we still saw some fantastic mathematical knowledge in the way they responded to the questions in the pre-test.

At the end of this week, we will re-test the children using the same test and then compare the results to see if there is a difference in how the children solve the problems.

Monday, 24 September 2018

DMIC - teaching smarter in maths

In our space, we have been thinking about how we can better support our learners in maths. Currently in maths, we are seeing each child twice a week with two DMIC maths problems. I will see 30 children while Angela will see the other 30 children. One idea that came to us was that we could be seeing all 60 children once per week by each of us doing one DMIC maths problem per week. Therefore, all the children would continue to have two problems a week, however they would see Angela for one of the problems and me for the other problem. This idea has both pros and cons:

- Children are exposed to two different teachers which could support some learners to make connections with one teacher which they may not make with the other teacher.
- Teachers would be teaching the same lesson 4x a week which would give them the opportunity to refine their practice and make changes to make the lesson better to better support the children.

- Children may require consistency - 1 teacher twice a week would support these children.
- Teachers would need to make detailed written reflections on individual children so that the next teacher could focus in on individual children's challenges and support them in their next steps. Note: next steps could be missed.

Monday, 17 September 2018

End of term 3 inquiry

I started using the idea brought to me in our new inquiry groups earlier this term which was to give learners the opportunity to choose the group norm which they wanted to work on. Even though this was a great idea, I don't feel it was benefiting those learners who find it challenging to share their ideas in their maths groups. I also don't believe that many learners were putting much thought into why they were choosing a particular norm. Many learners were choosing a norm because a friend had chosen it.

I have ensured that children who find it challenging to share their ideas in their maths groups are paired with confident and patient learners who are able to share their learning and who are thoughtful about others in their group. I am expecting that this will encourage these learners to ask more questions and participate more confidently. Attempting this had interesting results. The first day I attempted this with one group of children, there was hardly any discussion between the children. I found out that some of these children had never worked together before and felt very unsure about working together. When I explained why I had made them a group and why I thought they would work well together, they assured me that even though they felt uncertain, they wanted to persevere and continue working together. The next time this group met, we had one of our DMIC mentor teachers with us. This teacher had no idea about the previous dynamics of this group but made a comment about how well this group were working together and how well they were supporting each other. 

Currently, we expect learners to create 2 DMIC reflections per week (one for each DMIC problem they do). I have created a template blog post of what this should look like:


This week in maths I worked with ___________ to solve this question:

This is our working. We had to ________________. I was proud of myself as ____________Next week I want to get better at __________________.


The next step will be to encourage learners to also include a webcam video or screencast to support their blog post.

In literacy this term, I created a rubric for peer editing. This has been highly successful in encouraging discussions and editing independent of the teacher. My next goal is to create a similar rubric which can be used in maths whilst learners create DMIC reflections on their blog.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Inquiry into reading

We met as a team to discuss how we can better plan for explicit teaching in reading. When teaching reading, it can be difficult to make strong links between what you teach in a guided reading group and what the children do as a task when they are not with you. Therefore, we worked together to discuss how we currently do this, and how we can improve our practice.

Here are some notes towards a potential reading plan for a group learning to infer and understand different points of views:

WALT make an inference about the author's purpose and their point of view when they don't state it explicitly.
[Make connections/ inferring/ applying knowledge]

Direct instruction idea: Questioning/ prompting the children to discuss.

Learning experience idea: Ask ourselves: Do they need the text to be able to complete the task - if not, it's not achieving what it should. Video contrasting two scenarios which are present in the text (teamwork vs. not showing teamwork).

Cycle rate idea: 2x a week guided reading + 1x check in.

How will I know what difference it made? Do similar WALTs for 2 lessons then tweak learning experience ideas. Seeing how they answer relevant questions in guided reading sessions.

Things to watch out for: Children who are mid-way through year 5 and reading at around 9 years need to be getting enough mileage so we need to ensure that enough texts are being read in a week.