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Inquiry Stocktake

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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.

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…

Inquiry 2018-19

Today I had the opportunity to share my Inquiry with the Kaikohekohe cluster on their teacher only day.

I focussed on the two things I learnt the most from this inquiry: using the inquiries of colleagues to inform my own and continuing to use successful aspects of past inquiries.



It was really helpful to connect the two inquiries (2018-19) and to reflect on my learning throughout this time. It was a great reminder of the things that I must continue to do; such as facilitating debate, using exemplars/text analysis and to use argumentation boards.

2020 Learner Profile

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We educators teach a lot more than reading, writing or maths. We spend much time on developing life skills and preparing our tamariki for their futures.

With this in mind, we in team five spent our first meeting creating graduating profiles of our learners. That is, we considered the skills, knowledge and traits that we hope they will possess as they leave our classes. This was a fantastic activity (created by my amazing team leader Andrea) that got us on the same page and excited about teaching a new cohort of children.



We discussed motivation and resilience at length; we want our students to be driven, to love learning, to persevere and set lofty goals. We also discussed some of the challenges our students face at this age, as they become more self aware (and self conscious) and are beginning to make choices for their future.

This is something that hit me hard at the end of 2019 as I started to connect more with teachers at the local college. Previously I had quizzed them on the dem…

Unpacking Our Reading Journey

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Over the past two years I have been able to track a target group of students in my literacy group. The students are all girls except for F and G but these boys left in 2018.  I wanted to track this group closely this year as they came to me with reading ages between 8 and 9, where our learners seem to get stuck. In the first year, some were able to achieve accelerated shift, while others only made 6 months.

StudentEnd 2017End 2018End 2019 A 8.5911B8.510.512 C 910.513 D 99.511 E 91011.5F8.510/ G 99.5/
I focussed on those that had made the best shift and surveyed them to see what they thought caused it. F said that he enjoyed the topics that we were reading and that he was reading more. B and C had similar answers, with my hunch being that B made so much shift due to reading more at home. In fact, I gave B an extra text every week.
In 2019 I attempted to give the students texts that they would find more interesting, and for the end of term 1, all of term 2 and half of term 3, I increased…

Was it a Success?

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After looking at my mid year and running record results, I considered my inquiry to be a success. I had used text analysis and exemplars to support my students to identify various writing techniques. They were able to identify structural and language features, their purpose and discuss why the author had used them. They had made the connection between reading and writing.
I had also increased the complexity of the texts that my 12.5 + readers were focussing on and increased the number of texts per week for remainder of the class. To support the complex texts, I was facilitating debate and rich discussion. With help from Dr Jannie Van Hees, I was encouraging my students to notice and use rich vocabulary.
My running records displayed solid shift (note, our running records are run by relievers/ reading support teachers to rule out teacher bias).  On average, my students moved 17 months, which includes the three students who were already at the end of the Probe testing kit.