Thursday, 25 November 2021

Thinking ahead to 2022

The Achievement objective I am considering, is to improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/key competencies using language symbols and texts.

I am in a unique position as the Creative Space and Extension teacher. I don’t have my own class but teach a programme for the year 5-8 extension children.

Prior to being in this position, I taught year 5 children. I absolutely loved that a group of children get to go out for Extension classes however, due to number limits, often wished we could give more opportunities for those children who weren’t in that group yet were still academically capable, skilled and could really benefit from additional opportunities. The Pt England Network news (PENN) is a great place for this to happen. Children have opportunities to present the news, learn how to be videographers and photographers, and learn skills around movie editing.

This year for my inquiry, I have been exploring the oral language capabilities of the year 5 and 6 children in my extension class and realised that there was a disparity between the language these children could recognise when reading and the oral language they were able to use when speaking. Many of these children had an output challenge. The children and I pin pointed the need for them to have many exposures to speaking and presenting with support and scaffolds. I have had some great success with these children in developing their oral language capabilities and confidence.

I would love to inquire around the development of oral language for the crew of news presenters. This could support reading, speaking and presenting, confidence and so much more for these children and it already is!

I want to encourage more teachers to be using video in activities for their children to share their learning. During lockdown, I was looking at a lot of student blogs and I found that in the junior classrooms, there was a lot more video being used for sharing learning than in the senior school. I would love to encourage more senior teachers to encourage video sharing by children as we go forward.

I want to inquire into the potential benefits which the use of video could have for the learning of children who are academically capable however need more oral language mileage. I want to target those children who are not in the extension group but who could benefit from this experience. Presenting on PENN  also has lots of potential for those children who are reading to learn and who need to develop confidence with their reading. 

The following inquiries could be used to support the importance of this inquiry:

MIT inquiry of the former Creative Space and Extension teacher, Sandy Lagitupu, who also inquired into the use of oral language and Paideia seminars for extension level children.

Anika Unka's flexi-connects, where there were discussions about learning between the teacher, whānau and child. I love that this is a real context for encouraging oral language for our children.

Poto Faalili brought a cultural lens to this where she explained the importance of talanoa to engage boys in her class. She emphasised the importance of commitment with this. It has to be regular. 

Amy Tofa, Clarelle Carruthers and  Robyn Anderson all talked about how limited oral language capabilities was associated with lack of confidence, self efficacy and frustration. 

A couple of years ago, Clarelle Carruthers inquired into the use of video to support Fluency. She had children listen to themselves speaking and found that they were able to pick up their errors through this process. The children could see the positives of their speaking which encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing.

This work would support Manaiakalani Pedagogy and kaupapa. The Learn-Create-Share pedagogy is absolutely present in the Pt England Network News. I would love to see more of children's personalities coming through from the children who are presenting.

I’d love to see more creativity with what and how we present the news to the school. I would love to work on an inquiry which inspires teachers to use more video and speaking opportunities for children to share their learning. 

Woolf Fisher research has strongly demonstrated that reading and writing mileage is so important for children’s learning. Through the Summer Learning Journey, we see how successful regular writing supports children’s learning. I want to see the same for oral language however it requires us to give the children lots of opportunities to talk. 

Research from Manaiakalani observations over the years has shown that we could be providing children with more varied opportunities to share their learning.  

How could I be supported in this Inquiry?

I have found the Kāhui Ako meetings extremely valuable in supporting my inquiry. Having the opportunity to talanoa and find similarities between each others inquiries is so important.

I would also like opportunities to run workshops for the PENN crew which is how I would like to spend some of my CoL release time. I think courses where I could meet with the crew as a group would be highly beneficial to support the children in forming goals and purpose for their learning through PENN.

I would like to be able to support and challenge other teachers to think about their learning experiences and whether we can include more voice and film into children’s blogging.

I think it would be really valuable to find people working across Manaiakalani schools who have a particular interest in film and video to first see what other teachers are currently doing to allow for oral language mileage but also find those teachers who are willing to incorporate more video and audio into their own classes. 

At the beginning of the year, I want to pin point those teachers who are also inquiring into oral language or use of speaking and presenting in their classrooms and then work with them to inquiry into this really important learning challenge.

Other Thoughts for my inquiry:


  • Focus on PENN - support for speaking and presenting/ school-wide learning opportunities through the news network. How does this support the children?

  • Year 1-2 children - minimal digital fluency/mother language development this year due to many circumstances - what might this look like next year? Could I run this programme myself as my CoL role or is this part of my creative space teacher role? Do I have time to be going into the year 1 classes myself? Maybe I could be doing this during my 2 hours of CoL release each week and working with the year 1-3 children?


  • PENN - leadership, support oral language development (speaking & presenting), how effective are the school-wide learning opportunities presented through PENN? What can I do more to develop quality learning through PENN? - Think Kea Kids News sort of thing.

  • Y1-3 children additional digital teaching/support: Teaching the mother language. 

    • Progress outcome 1 (by end of year 3): In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students participate in teacher-led activities to develop, manipulate, store, retrieve and share digital content in order to meet technological challenges. In doing so, they identify digital devices and their purposes and understand that humans make them. They know how to use some applications, they can identify the inputs and outputs of a system, and they understand that digital devices store content, which can be retrieved later.

    • iPads: drive, blogging, EE

    • iMacs: Students Room, Hyperstudio, Scratch (drawing tool part of scratch for y1-2 and drawing different costumes; y1-2 - Scratch Jr for simple coding; y3 begin to code on desktop Scratch). 

      • I want to avoid Scratch Jr for digital drawing as it is far too basic and restricts their drawing skills too much.

Other thoughts, after discussions with Fiona:

Show teachers links between oral language → Texts etc.

Ownership passed over more to the children.

Has to be helpful to the school.

Designing Learning With the End in Mind 

Literacy Exemplars

This is the site with examples from observations

Thursday, 18 November 2021

My Bursts in Bubbles Presentation

 Here is my Bursts in Bubbles 3 minute video to summarise my inquiry and findings this year:

Bursts in Bubbles 2021

During the Manaiakalani Kāhui Ako Bursts and in Bubbles event this afternoon, I took summary notes about the inquiries I felt I could utilise in my own current practice and incorporate with my own findings in my inquiry.

Anita Unka (Y1-2): How can I use feedback and feedforward in writing to build relationships with whānau, enabling greater shifts in student achievement for our tāmariki?

Gaps in oral language, limited vocabulary --> limited ideas when writing.
Writing flexi-connects - whānau on other end in a meet while teacher and child at school.
Through lockdown, the flexi-connects changed where the child was with their parent and Anita was on the other end of the call.

Poto Faalili (Y7&8): How will being culturally responsive in my teaching and an integrated approach to teaching and learning accelerate student achievement?

Engaging boys, particularly those that turn up to school late.
Student voice via talanoa.
Priority to see this group every morning at 8:30am. Changed to lunch with lunches. Well-being was important in this as well as talanoa about learning.

Amy Tofa (Y7&8): Will building self efficacy in students enable them to be more independent in Project Based Learning and accelerate their progress in Reading? 

Lack of self efficacy for completing project-based learning.
Lack of confidence.
Frank Paris to build self efficacy.
High anxiety impacts self efficacy.

Christine Tupou-Fonua (Y7&8): Can we make accelerated shifts in literacy through teaching identity & cultural competencies?

Coconut Model Work (see her blog)

Clarelle Carruthers (Y4): How will using a variety of high interest texts and providing open tasks impact students critical thinking?

Critical thinking and vocabulary.
Frustration by children was a big issue.
Whole class theme for reading each week to encourage more collaboration and vocabulary development.
For true critical learning to happen, the children need to be doing the work - remove the scaffolds.

Kelsey Parrant (Y5): Will a focus on vocabulary and interest specific texts have an impact on reading achievement for my learners reading below 8 years? 

Lack of understanding or strategies to understand meaning of vocabulary when reading.

Robyn Anderson (Y7&8): Will a focus on oral language in maths accelerate student confidence and capability to use spoken and written maths vocabulary and language?

Oral language and maths
Stepping in with scaffolds too early as the teacher wasn't helpful.
Robyn also developed some speaking prompts to support the children in learning to talk.
Giving children time to talk was essential.

Aimee Litchfield (Y1&2): How can I develop the use of oral language and use a wider range of vocabulary to see acceleration across all curriculum areas?

Unable to express themselves with more than one word.
Daily picture prompts.
Increase in vocabulary.
Next steps - to develop fluency.
Strongly implement learning in oral language through to writing.

Monday, 1 November 2021

Making my own Curiosity cards

In response to learning about the Fertile Question cards (Curiosity Cards) by the National Library which support my inquiry focus and implementation this year, I have created my own curiosity cards around our Term 4 topic about Marine Biology. 

The children responded really well to these cards and were encouraged into deep conversation around the topic. 

In a future post, I will share some of the responses I have got from the first of the curiosity cards in this pack.