Tuesday, 14 November 2017

My story this year...

My openness to facing the challenge of reducing barriers in reading.

As part of my community of learning Teaching  inquiry goal I’ve been looking into what are the barriers in reading and identify what we can do to overcome these barriers. I work in an innovative learning environment, in a hub with 86 learners and 4 teachers. 12 of the learners have been below national standards in reading.

This has allowed me to work intensely with learners who are below their chronological age group throughout the year. After looking at the huge range of challenges these learners are faced with, it’s given me a sense of urgency and motivation to build their learning capacity and cognitively engage these learners so they can make an accelerated shift in their achievement.

We are a 1:1 Ipad hub, so students have the opportunity to become digitally literate and drive their learning. I’ve created rich tasks that specifically work on decoding, phonological awareness and comprehension depending on where the barriers lie.although I say we, behind it there’s a we without the collaboration of my team and with colleague in the CoL this wouldn’t be possible. We’ve noticed that this has given learners the autonomy to self direct their learning.

What did we start to do as a team?
We had to make some major changes to our practise, and all having to adapt, we all have different points of view and the view of our parents. Teachers, learners and parents had to make changes to the way they think how to read

Through the rich dialogue and open to learn conversations amongst 4 of us we realised that there needed to be interventions in place. It meant that we could teach to our strengths and use flexible groupings. So my challenge was to think outside the square about how create authentic and rich learning experiences for these learners who were below in reading.

What I did?
I set up regular connecting with parents to talk about these barriers and how they could help their children at home, running reading together workshops for parents on this, which modeled with a child how to teach reading to their children, getting student and teacher voice to improve my practise. My literacy programme is rich in hands on learning and whole body movement.  For many of these learners using their Ipad was the hook. I’ve created rich tasks that specifically work on decoding, phonological awareness and comprehension.

What is happening now?
Learners are constantly reviewing their goals and taking on feedback to improve their reading. The level of motivation to want to learn to read has been tremendous.

A learner recently said to me… ‘using these reading strategy bookmarks are cool, because I can work out these tricky words by myself’. Parent engagement is higher too. A parent recently emailed me to say that the regular connecting has been helpful for her to see what she can do at home to support her child. I’ve also had the opportunity to share the strategies that have worked for me through my Teaching Inquiry blog, with colleagues at school, across schools to the wider community.

When we look at data now we only have 4 learners who are below their chronological reading age. I believe that it’s the sense of urgency and motivation I had to build their learning capacity and cognitively engage these learners so they can make an accelerated shift in their achievement in reading.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Moving Forward - engaging our Maori learner whanau

Some great discussion around engaging our Maori Parents and whanau more to raise student achievement at our last Thursday's PLD at Stonefields School. Our hub team came up with...


Having a shared morning tea, invite parents in to discuss what they see could help parents more in supporting their children. 
Talk about what does currently happen, how could we continue to support you (parents)?
Get to know the parents more, who they are, their background, their heritage and what is important to them.

Another idea is to keep our Maori learners on a separate group in school talk as a way to communicate with parents, teacher aides and teachers to monitor the progress and make learning visible.

We have regular connects with our Maori leaner parents and they respond well to these connects. We would like to continue these and now try these suggestions we have come up with.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Making Accelerated Shift for Maori Learners


Manaiakalani Teachers Inquire into the CoL Achievement Challenges


This is the achievement Challenge I am working on this year...

"Lift the achievement in reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Māori students (both genders) years 1-13"

We have a Y1 learner who is NZ Maori this is her progress in 2017.


This learner has been at school for 1 year and 6 months.  She started at Stonefields at the beginning of the year. From the graph above you can see that she has made steady progress.  She is now reading at Green.  We want her to be at Orange to meet National Standards and be 'at' her level.

The goal now is to get this learner to Orange level by the end of the year 8 weeks to go!!

Steps taken to make this progress
  • Regular parent connects twice a term. The content covered in these connects...
    • How to use the Reading Prompt Cards at home and in association with the home readers.
    • Sharing content from reading together workshops, providing parents with strategies of how to support their child with reading.
    • A time to answer any questions to support parents with reading with their child.

 "The regular connects have been really helpful.  You've helped to give me some strategies of how I can help ... at home.  It keeps on us track.  The list of high frequency words have been good to motivate ....  I love the reading bookmark as ... knows what to do when she comes across a tricky word.  We really appreciate the help have given us"
Parent Voice

During learning time the most effect strategies for our Maori learners are using the following..
  • Elkonin Boxes (sound boxes) we make connections to our Maori vowel song we sing regularly  A Haka Mana
  • Reading one on one daily (getting extra dose and density)
  • The use of Digital incentives during phonics time has helped this learner to take on student agency to drive their learning, and she what their next step is.

By refining and and digging deeper into my Inquiry I am able to change my practice to engage Maori learners and refine my practice to cause shift in progress.  I look forward to the next post following on from this to see the shift made for this learner.




Monday, 16 October 2017

Teacher Voice - Something to be proud of.


Parent Voice

Digging Deeper into My Inquiry - Ocean Phonics

What have I tried?                                    What was successful?                   Where to next?

Ocean Phonics
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Student Voice:
“The balancing is helping me hold my pencil and write and not get squiggly lines, I can write up and down.”

“The jumping the words out because it helps me read and remember the words better.’

“Eye tracking it helps me to get to the words and concentrating and not just taking to my friends

“Jumping on the words is cool, I can remember the words better.’
  • Noticings:Related imageRelated imageRelated image
  • Creates student agency.

  • Next steps:
  • How can we collect evidence through school talk, maximise progressions eg learner qualities, graduate profile, work attack skills in Reading…

  • Learner video each other or taking photos, giving feedback and feedforward between each other.

  • Research into what is going to get value added. Eg integrate STEPs into phonics