Posts

Data Collection?

In my last CoL post I shared my grand plans for collecting data to inform my inquiry. I talked about administering e-asstle and arbs tests in person and then reflecting on the test practices of my learners.

Covid-19 has obviously altered these plans and at first I was pretty defeated. However, I now realise that actually gave me the unique opportunity to witness my students independent habits from afar.
The whole point of my inquiry was to investigate how I can support my students to be more independent readers. That is what they were forced to be, albeit with a little help through email and Google Meet.

Over level 4 and 3, I learnt a great deal from my students independent slides alone. However, I also gave my students a short text to read and asked them to answer comprehension questions (written on a Google Doc) over Google Meet. This was fascinating.

I found that most of my learners skimmed the text before making very basic meaning from it. Some of them grasped the text at a litera…

How to Teach Sentence Structure

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Does grammar have a place in your writing programme? Previously when I've thought about teaching sentence structure,  I've thought about teaching sentence length or type, such as 'compound' or 'complex'. I didn't think I was doing too badly with this either, until I spent a few hours chatting to Dr Jannie Van Hees over the holidays. I realised that something was definitely missing from my programme!



A Problem

Over the years I have encountered many students who struggle with sentence structure in different ways. I'm sure we are all familiar with the 'and then' writer. These are children who are determined to fit a whole story into a sentence. " First I woke up and then I had breakfast and after that I watched TV..." need I say more. I've also taught natural poets, writers who write in beautiful utterances:
"tears pouring, dreams caged. Useless wings flutter." I have a real soft spot for these writers, but you can imagine ho…

Supporting Health and Wellbeing; Students, Parents, Teachers

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How would you treat a pupil who came to you and said they were feeling overwhelmed? We teachers are experts at listening compassionately and supporting others through hard times. So why is it that we struggle to do the same for ourselves? This evening I attended a webinar lead by Clinical Psychologist Dr Natalie Flynn and Dr Nina Hood of The Education Hub.

Teacher Wellbeing

At the moment, teachers are really struggling to allow themselves to feel stressed or low. We are going through a global pandemic. We are being asked to teach in a totally different way and it is hard. We must acknowledge that it is hard. And then we must stop beating ourselves up for not meeting high expectations.

A good first step for teachers, as suggested by Dr Flynn, is to comprise a list of all of the things that you are expected to do. Then negotiate, prioritise, work out what can feasibly be done and set a time to do it. You wont be able to do everything and that has to be okay. 

We absolutely cannot compromise…

Enhancing Assessment

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Assessment is a hot topic in education. Often when we think of assessment we think of end of year, high stakes testing, where our students are allocated a grade. However, Professor Stuart Kime urges educators to look at assessment instead as a process that is vital for effective pedagogy. Here are my takeaways from Professor Kime's assesment webinar at the Education Hub.



Assessment should not be looked at as a singular event or test. Instead it should be seen as a process that produces information that can be used and that is meaningful. Yes, it will involve some sort of testing, but when teachers make sense of this test data and act upon it, their pedagogy is strengthened.

Testing is often seen as an end goal - we will assess our students at the end of the unit or year and give them a grade. However, the process of assessment can be used throughout the year. We need to know their starting point; to understand where they are at the moment and how/ what we should teach them next. T…

Informing my Inquiry

How can I support my students to make sense of a range of texts independently? 

So far in my inquiry, I have come to the realisation that while my students are able to discuss texts with others and do well in Probe testing (with an external tester), they struggle in PAT testing.

My hunch is that my students are supported by discursive nature of Probe, but they struggle to access the deeper meaning of texts when alone. I also wonder if they struggle when presented with a range of texts and text types, as in class/ the probe test they are able to focus on one text and dedicate more time to making sense of it.

It is now time to start collecting data to prove/ disprove my hunches and find out where my students struggle. These are the methods of data collection that I have been considering:

e-asTTle Reading
While I have the PAT results for my class, I would like more insight into the type of questions that my students struggle with. I know that e-asTTles marking console illustrates students…

Top Tips for Online Learning

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With the world in lockdown every teacher is having to make adaptations for online distance learning. To help speed your learning journey,  here are seven top tips that I've curated from the experts Harry Fletcher-Wood and Dr Nina Wood at the Education Hub.



1. Students attention spans are going to be far shorter. We know that there are many distractions for children at home and they are definitely not dedicating six hours of their day for school work. We don't want to overload parents either - if there is too much content and they have multiple children things get very tricky. A couple of hours of learning a day is great. In fact, my 11 to 13 year old students tend to clock out after about 90 - so I make the most of them!

2. Your learning activities need to be simple. We don't have the chance to meet face to face with students, to answer questions as they arise, so our tasks need to be easily introduced and explained. It is helpful to use a similar format each week (or the …

Hooking them from Home; Student Engagement in Distance Learning

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Are you interested in hearing what the experts have to say about distance learning? I have broken down some of the key learning presented by Harry Fletcher-Wood (teacher, educational researcher and Associate Dean at Ambition Institute) at this evenings Webinar hosted by the Education Hub and Dr Nina Wood.

Harry began by discussing the need to prioritise. At the moment teachers are overwhelmed. We're bombarded with offers from educational apps, our Pinterest boards are brimming with ideas and our inboxes are full to bursting with suggestions on remote learning. But if we use every app, tool and suggestion we will overwhelm our students. Instead, we need to focus on establishing new habits and setting simple activities so that our students find working from home achievable and manageable.

Forming habits

To form these habits, we need to support our students to get into a routine that supports learning.  "After breakfast I will attend a hangout with my class and complete my maths …