Monday, 19 September 2016

Term 3 Reflection: Using Text Sets

Term 3 has been all about the creation and use of text sets. Text sets... what are those I hear you ask? This is a group of readings - some compulsory, some not - that's sole purpose is to build student's knowledge around a topic or focus.

For example, see this text set that I setup for one of my reading groups.

I have found that this is incredibly worth while. I have never had as much fun teaching reading as I have this term. I have also seen a remarkable shift in my students understanding and focus of a topic - they have genuinely been excited about it! But more importantly it is making a difference to their two biggest needs: applying knowledge and inferring.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Term 3 - Where to from here?

Image attribution:
During the last two terms I have been focussing my inquiry around what is it that I am doing to bring about a change to my student's learning. The evidence gathered from formative assessments, group teaching and observations was telling me that my students were falling short when trying to apply knowledge from one context to another. Another problem is that my students aren't able to read longer texts, read for a longer time before being distracted or bored and are therefore not as informed about the topic in question as they should be. This then leads to create tasks that are very low in thought. All of this from students who are reading at an age of 10 years to 13 years... Something has to change!

So in other words, I am falling short in teaching these skills to my students!

This term my focus is changing to looking more in depth at this problem. What can I change in my practice to solve this? How can I provide more opportunities to go deeper into a text that is both guided and free form? How can I relate one weeks worth of work to another weeks worth of work in a meaningful and contextualised kind of way?

Lots of questions... heaps to change... lets get started!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Term 2 Reflection

When trying to get accelerated progress with my top reading group (12 year reading age and up) this term I have realised that they are struggling to apply their knowledge across a range of texts and topics. So one way I have tried to meet this need is by integrating Reading and Writing seamlessly so that I am able to make as many connections for them (scaffolding and gifting). This is working really well and I am now seeing a vast improvement in their ability to make those connections!

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Google Spreadsheet: Data Gathering and Analysis using VLOOKUP

As part of my inquiry into teaching this year I have been looking into ways to streamline my recording and keeping of data. I wanted to find a way that would enable me to not only assess more often but also to analysis data more efficiently. I have a lot of the data already, but it was just time consuming to analyse this.

This lead me to look at using the full features of spreadsheets. After talking with Ben Baxendine and a few other people who are proficient with spreadsheets I came up with a solution. By using a simple VLOOKUP formula I have been able to set up each sheet to go looking for data for me. There is no more need to copy and paste a whole lot of information anymore!

Check out the below screencast of me explaining the setup of my OTJ spreadsheet and how this has streamlined my data gathering and analysis.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Term 1 Reflection

Wow, this term has flown by!

I am really proud of my students who have been working incredibly hard on their reading this term.

What I have been absolutely stoked with was how they have been actively working on their learning goals. They really appreciated me sharing with them their testing results and being a part of the process when analysing the data and co-creating their next steps. This has made a huge difference to their motivation and enjoyment. Consequently 10 students from my target group have made 6 months progress while two students have made 1.5 years plus!

Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

My Inquiry Focus for 2016

In 2016 Pt England's school-wide teacher inquiry focus is: Formative practice in reading and writing to improve students achievement.

This got me thinking. How does formative practice impact my teaching? Am I even using it well? Can I change how I assess my kids in an ongoing way that is impactful to my teaching and consequently my students progress/ development?

I realised by the end of last year I was starting to feel pretty stressed before my kids sat their end of year assessments. All I could think of was, "HAVE THEY IMPROVED??" This was a scary thought because of all the hard work I had put in to gain accelerated progress from my class. But that was only the start of it. What if I found out that a student hadn't understood a key concept or hadn't in-fact progressed? It was now too late to do anything about it. My window of change had gone! What about those kids who I hadn't moved on quick enough? Had it been too easy for them, meaning that an opportunity to extend them had been missed?

My 2016 enquiry focus had been birthed.

This year I am wanting to enquire into what exactly is creating accelerated progress in my kids. I want to find out what I am doing that is making a difference, and do that more often and throw away the ineffective, time wasting teaching/tasks/activities. I need to keep up to date with testing so that my teaching is always at the cutting edge, not relying on a gut feel.

I want to be more intentional in my tracking of progress throughout the year in the hope to fix a big problem. The problem I most want to solve is with my extension kids. I have realised that they are unable to think critically about a text. I have realised (through data analysis and extra testing) that they find it hard to evaluate a text. They also find it really hard to transfer knowledge from one context to another. This is what I want to fix!

My enquiry Focus for 2016:
Use formative assessment to track progress closely and determine what the next teaching and learning steps are in reading.