I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.


Saturday, 17 November 2018

Burst and bubbles Evening


A yet another fantastic evening about how our inquiries have made a difference to our students. I am so proud of being a CoL teacher this year. My inquiry this year is on writing.
My question was -

Does talking about topics and noticing Language chunks in reading help students to recycle their learning into writing?

My inquiry was not just about my students but about me as well. I believe that I have learnt more than what my students would have. I shared my inquiry with my learners and told them that We all were in the same boat and needed to reach the shores without drowning. We had stir our boat sometime gently and sometimes really vigourously.

Now heading towards the end of the my inquiry I can say with pride that out of the 5 boys in my target group - 1 has moved 4 sub levels and the other three have moved 3 sub levels and fifth one has moved 2 sub levels.
Not only did their writing improve but their reading improved as well. Their comprehension levels went up more than one to one and half year.  Their vocabulary bank increased and now they can use better words both in their oral and written language. They use complex sentences to describe and explain their ideas. 
The best bit was that the rest of the rests in the class had improved too. On assessing them I found that every child had make some progress and no one was at the same level as at the beginning of the year. 
The evidence for this is highlighted on my blog. - these are in the form of my reflections, class blog and Google Class On Air Episodes and day to day observations.

What did I do to make this happen?

Changing my classroom climate was a key to my inquiry. I had to change myself to be a good listener as well. What I had noticed was that these children were - intelligent students but were bored of writing and did not know how to be successful at writing. This would have been also because these students had not experienced success in writing in their previous years of schooling.


what I would like to say to the teachers here is - read as much as possible to your children.
discuss new language in text , show them how to notice new words and language chunks, and give them lots of opportunities to recycle their new words. Talk to them using new words. And last but not the least, make a big deal about little achievements and celebrate these. Intrinsically motivate your students.

What next ...

I will continue to do what me and my students have continued to do this year right from day one next year.
I would like to thank Jannie, Rebecca, Aaron, Russell, Dorothy, Anne Sinclaire, Pat Sneddon and many more mentors and facilitators whom I would have missed on this occassion.
Most of all I would like to thank my students without whom this learning journey was impossible.













Saturday, 10 November 2018

My Reflections on my Inquiry - Phase 5 Monitoring and evaluating Impact - Part 2

As I had focused on vocabulary for the purpose of my inquiry, I needed to monitor if vocabulary of my students had improved. I did this through Kids Vocabprofile, a tool that can help assess vocabulary knowledge. The analyses of writing shows that students have learnt lots of new words and can use these in their writing in a meaningful way. There is a clear indication that student's vocabulary bank has increased.

Analysis of vocabulary using vocabprofile

Student Name :  D

Target student 1 - Time 1


8 topic specific words used.


Target student 1, Time 2


28 topic related words used.


Target student 1, Time 3


74 topic related words used




_______________________________________

Student Name: O
Target student 2 
Time 1
The solar system has planets. Mars is the hottest planet.

2 words

Time 2

The sun lies at the centre of the solar system where it is by far the largest object.
It holds 99.8 of the mass of the solar system. The sun and it’s atmosphere are divided into
several layers. The sun’s light is made out of rainbow colours.

17 words

Time 3
Earth is the third planet in the Solar System. It is the most unique planet out of all the
other planets.People can live on Earth and there is water and oxygen that can grow plants.
It is called the goldilocks planet and is the perfect planet for human beings to survive.
Earth has one moon. There are lots of other heavenly bodies in the solar system like
the moons and shooting stars. There are some planets that are not discovered.
We cannot live on other planets because there is no oxygen and no water. Other planets
are too cold or too hot.

18 words



Student Name: X
Target Student 3
Time 1
What do you know about the solar system.

Solar system is a clelltion ( collection) of planets and smaller objects all travelling around the
senstrel ( central) star the sun. it is big and heavy that it’s gravity pulls the whole solar system
to orbit around the sun. Solar means something to do with the sun. the solar system is colletion
of 8 planets more than hundred moons.

11 words

Time 2
Space is everywhere. In space it is pitch black alos space has millions of galaxy in spaces too.
Space has no oxygen so that’s why astronauts wear space suits and helmets with an oxygen tank.
Space never ends so it is infinite. Scientists are unaware of the possibilities in space.

15 words

Time 3
Topic - Caring for Planet Earth
Earth was created when a solar nebula explosion happened wich created the sun that also
created all the other planets and Earth. Earth is a goldilocks planet because it is neither too
hot nor too cold. It has the right temperature because it has two elements oxygen and water to survive.
Animals also other creatures are dying because people are cutting down trees, littering hunting
down animals because sometimes the rubbish goes on animals. Then they die, like seas turtles,
cows, bulls, penguins shark fish. Killer whales alos whales mostly sharks because they eat whatever
they can find. also some animals lives in trees. That’s how animal lives get harder for them.
But we still need wood to make things so always after cutting down trees plant a new one.
Nether litter and don’t hunt.

19 words



Student Name: J
Target student 4
Time 1
A solar system have 8 planets. Earth is unique because we have oxygen.

2 words
Time 2
Our Solar system has 8 planets and 1 sun and lots of moons. There are other heavenly bodies
known as shooting stars and meteors. There is a possibility of different planets and galaxies
beyond the milky way galaxy. There could be aliens and mermaids and other species that we
are unaware of.

Earth is the most suitable planet to live in. We cannot live in other planets because are too
cold or too hot. Some planets have no oxygen and no water. We cannot live on gaseous planets
because they would blow us up. Other planets have no seasons and have too long days and too
long nights. So Earth is the only planet you can live on.

13 words
Time 3
Our Solar system has eight planets and one sun and lots of moons. There are other heavenly bodies
known as shooting stars and meteors. There is a possibility of different planets and galaxies
beyond the milky way galaxy. There could be aliens and mermaids and other species that
we are unaware of. Earth is the most suitable planet to live in. We cannot live in other planets
because other planets are too cold or too hot. Some planets have no oxygen or no water.
We cannot live on gaseous planets because it would blow us up. Other planets have no seasons
and have days and nights that are too long. So Earth is the only planet you can live on.
Earth has one moon and the right temperature for life to survive. It has a number of species
and this is what makes it a beautiful planet.

24 words




Friday, 9 November 2018

My Reflections on my Inquiry - Phase 5 Monitoring and evaluating Impact - Part 1

This is the last phase of my inquiry and it is about Monitoring and evaluating.
These are the results on just one test and are not my OTJs.

Progress and shifts made by students.

Easttle results of Target student X ( Year 4 student)
Writing level 2A
Moved from 1P at the beginning of the year to 2 A at the End of the year.
Moved four sub levels in Writing




e- asTTle results of target student J ( Year 4 student)
Writing level 2A
Moved from 1P at the beginning of the year to 2 A at the End of the year.
Moved four sub levels in Writing



e- asTTle results of target student M ( Year 4 student)
Writing level 2A
Moved from 1P at the beginning of the year to 2 A at the End of the year.
Moved four sub levels in Writing



e- asTTle results of target student D ( Year 4 student)
Writing level 3B
Moved from 1A at the beginning of the year to 3B at the End of the year.
Moved four sub levels in Writing


e- asTTle results of target student O ( Year 4 student)
Writing level 2A
Moved from 1B at the beginning of the year to 1A at the End of the year.
Moved two sub levels in Writing






Tuesday, 6 November 2018

My reflections on my Inquiry - Phase 4 (Taking Action)

As said in my previous posts, I had decided to focus on three things for my Inquiry -


For this to happen, I had to change my pedagogy.

Firstly, I needed to change my class climate



Next, I needed to support learners to learn complex vocabulary.


This has benefitted my students hugely in growing their confidence and Writing capabilities.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

My Reflections on my Inquiry - Phase 3 - Collaborative sense making


As I was investigating into the learning of my students I wondered what my students were thinking about me and what do I think about my teaching and practice? Do the two align? Am I at the same page as that of my students?

For this I needed to collect some student voice to make sure that my students felt comfortable and all the efforts that I had put in building the class climate was benefiting them.

Survey done on the the 10th of May shows that 'Teaching and Learning communications' in class had improved and that students felt more comfortable asking questions than at the beginning of the year.




HOWEVER...

When I looked at the survey deeply, I found that I needed to change my delivery a bit more.
The question asked in the Survey were-

  • Mrs. S tells students exactly how to do better.
  • Mrs. S knows when students don't understand and slows down.
  • It is easy to ask Mrs. S for help.
  • Mrs. S makes things easier to understand.
  • Mrs. S asks students for help on how to improve her teaching.
  • Mrs. S answers questions very well.
The survey showed that my students

  • Wanted me to slow down as they sometimes missed on information.
  • They found it hard to ask me questions about their learning.




So these became my teaching goals because I was a very important factor in developing the classroom culture of my class.

Here is a link to my post on how I had worked to change my class culture.
Survey was done after three weeks. The survey showed that there was work that still needed to be done.



Wednesday, 24 October 2018

My reflections on my Inquiry - Phase 2 ( Gathering evidences)

What evidences did I have to base my Inquiry on?

Writing levels of students in previous years

I began to investigate and see how my students had performed in their previous years of schooling.



The data of the previous schooling years showed that students had not moved in the previous years of schooling.

Reading comprehension

Evidences show that these students were able to decode well but their comprehension level was too low.


When I further investigated, I found that most students failed on vocabulary and inferential questions.

Student Survey 
I did a survey on students to find out why they did not like writing?

Three students were aware of them being low achievers in Writing.
Two students did not think that they had to work more to be successful in writing.
All five students did not like to write as it was hard.

My Reflections
I needed to motivate and encourage these students for engagement. For this the whole class climate needed to change because it was not just these boys who did not find writing interesting but overall the class response showed little interest in the subject.

If I focused on Vocabulary, how could this help in improving Writing of my target students?

So I roughly framed my Inquiry question.

Does talking about topics and noticing Language chunks in reading help students to recycle their learning into writing?


Thursday, 18 October 2018

My reflections on my inquiry - Phase 1 (Noticing)


What did I notice at the beginning of the year?

Students were continuously achieving low in writing in their previous years of schooling. This was partly because students did not believe in themselves. They had very low self esteem and had continuously been told to work hard in writing but perhaps not shown how they could be successful.
Statements like " I am bad at Writing" said D. " I don't like Writing" said M. " Writing is boring" said X, were enough evidences for me to know that these children were not motivated enough to write because they found it difficult. The question for me was to see how I could change their views on writing and encourage them, and even more, get them intrinsically motivated by realising that they were well capable of becoming good writers.

What did I needed to change in my class?

Class Climate
"We all can do this" had to become the mantra of the class. Everyone including the low achievers and the high achievers were truely seen as people who can achieve. I believed in them and was a bit annoyed at how children can be labelled as low achievers so easily.

Mixed ability grouping
All students got opportunity to work with each other. This fostered more congruent classroom community in which students developed relationships with a range of peers and learned of each other. Activities were not differentiated and emphasis was on engagement and learning.

More Positive ( warm Relationships) classroom climate
It was okay to make mistakes. Students felt comfortable making mistakes, asking questions and support one another with their learning. Teacher scaffolding played a vital role. Opportunities were provided for students to learn through their mistakes. This was also done through lots of group work.

A climate that provided Intrinsic motivation
The psychosocial climate in the classroom also depends on the way teacher communicates with the students. I had to create this psychosocial environment that provided challenging learning experiences and clear goals. Students were expected to respond with high intrinsic motivation and a determination to be successful in their learning.  It was a climate that emphasised on cooperation rather than competition. I had high expectations for every student and all students were well aware of this.