Online Distance Teaching During Covid-19

If you asked me two weeks ago how prepared I felt to teach exclusively online, I probably would have laughed. I found it really hard to imagine a world where I couldn't visit my classroom or speak to my students face to face. But we have adapted and we have a programme underway.

In fact, we managed to get up and running on Tuesday - the first day that our students weren't able to attend physical school. My team leader had decided that we should begin to teach our students what distance learning might look like on Monday (this was awesome as many of us thought we would have longer at school), so we just managed to teach our students some protocol and gave some quick advice before we closed our doors.

Since then, we've been able to stay in contact and deliver our lessons through Google Sites and Google Meet/ Hangouts. In the short video above, I explain what our daily programme looks like and how we plan for learning. I really hope the video gives you some ideas of what can …

How will my Inquiry Make a Difference?

I am determined to lift the achievement of my students in reading, to the extent that it makes a difference to their Star and PAT Comprehension test results. This is important as our year 7/8 results in both my school and the cluster have shown to be lagging behind the younger year levels.

I have started by looking closer into the tests themselves, as I noticed that our running records and in class observations do not always align with the results we get for PAT. I discussed the tests with other teachers, senior management and I've looked at some research. See my blog post about this here.

I know from my conversations with the other teachers in my team and Y7/8 teachers across the cluster that this is a common issue. I believe if I can try an approach and demonstrate shift in my end of year PAT and Star data, then I can take my findings to my colleagues. It is important to note that I am not looking for a new way to teach reading, nor do I believe that we have been doing anything …

PAT Reading: What is going on!?

Does assessment data always accurately reflect the capabilities of our learners? As teachers we use multiple data sources to inform our  OTJs, in order to account for the odd bad day or fluke test. But when we know we had positive testing conditions and that our children are motivated, we cannot dismiss our results.

Last year I felt that my class had performed really well in reading. Their class work, learning conversations, increased interest in reading and running records (which are administered by a relief teacher) all pointed towards positive shift. We used even used Read Theory, a website not too dissimilar to the PAT tests, to practice for them. So I was really disappointed when the results came back - most of my learners results demonstrated they'd made average shifts, despite some increasing their reading age by over two years.

What does the research say?
Corkey (2014) studied the PAT results of a group of year 8 students who were stronger decoders than comprehenders. I fou…

Inquiry Stocktake

How well do you reflect on your inquiry? While it is common practice to reflect upon the outcomes of an inquiry, reflecting on the inquiry process itself is often overlooked. It might be that you struggled at a specific stage - data collection or generating hypotheses, so it is important to identify this as an area to work on for your next inquiry.
This afternoon we met for our first CoL PLG for 2020. Our focus was to reflect on the inquiry process in terms of the things that worked well and the challenges that we faced. 

What worked well in 2019 One of the strengths of my 2019 inquiry was my ability to monitor and tweak the approaches that I was using. I knew mileage was key for my target group and that I had success with reciprocal reading in the past, so I started by increasing the number of texts I gave my learners and the number of times I met with them for reciprocal teaching. 
I later realised that I was giving them far too many follow up activities and mammoth create tasks (wh…

Class onAir!

This year I am fortunate enough to be taking part in Manaiakalani Class onAir once again. Class onAir involves recording a lesson sequence and posting it online for the world to see. I share everything from my planning, lesson resources and the students completed learning at the end. Not only is this helpful to other teachers, but it supports me to reflect on my practice and challenges me to up my game!

 I am just one of many teachers who are part of this programme. Over the years these teachers have covered a range of subjects from new entrants to year 13. You can explore the website here.

My CoL Inquiry 2020

My 2020 CoL Inquiry Focus:

“Will reading across the curriculum lead to improved reading outcomes?"

The Manaiakalani Community of Learning is working together on this task using the expertise existing in of our community of learning.

I have selected the achievement challenge of: 

Increase the achievement in Years 7-10, in Reading, Writing, and Maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets. The teaching as inquiry framework I will continue to use in 2020 has been specifically co-constructed for Manaiakalani schools using our familiar Learn Create Share structure.

Throughout the year, I will be labelling my blog posts to reflect our Learn, Create, Share structure.
LEvidence Learn - Gather Evidence CPlan Create - Make a plan SPublish Share - Publish LScan Learn - Scan CTry Create - Try new things SCoteach Share - Co-teach LTrend Learn - Identify Trends CInnovate

Argumentation Boards

Are you interested in increasing oral language and critical thinking in your classroom?

Argumentation Boards use engaging topics to prompt critical thinking and debate. Essentially, a question is posed and students form their opinions (and use factual information to justify them) as they engage with a range of multi-modal texts.

I found using argumentation boards extremely helpful to increase the discussion and debate in my classroom. They gave my students an authentic and engaging context to read and write - they loved sharing their opinions!

I also found that they helped me to understand the notion of T-shaped or 'wide and deep' literacy. In this approach, students read a range of texts that are linked by topic or learning intention. When using argumentation boards, I got in the habit of using a wider range of text; I used a range of text types (persuasive, narrative...),  multiple modes (texts, videos, audio..) and the information in the texts varied too (opposing views, sa…