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.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Shifts at the end of Term 2

I have a year 4 and 5 class. My target students for writing for the first two terms were all my year 4 writers. I can very proudly announce that all my year 4 students are performing AT or ABOVE the Curriculum level in writing.

From this term onwards, I would be focussing more on my year 5 students. These is a group of 9 students who are at Beginning Level 2 or below. These students have made shifts but not considerable shifts so as to be AT the expected level.
The Data shows that I need to change my target students for writing from Term 3 onwards.

The reading data shows that all children in the class are working AT or ABOVE the curriculum level.
Very exciting!!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Increasing vocabulary size

The whole term I have been incorporating lots of things in my class room to develop vocabulary bank of my students. These ideas have been shared by Dr. Jannie Van Hees. Not that I was not aware of these earlier but I have made a conscious effort to include these teaching items into my daily plans. Discussing these with Jannie and learning how to plan in depth for my lessons has helped in increasing the receptive and productive vocabulary size of my students.  This has also made me more aware of where my students are and where they need to be. Now, with practice, I critically reflect on my daily plans and continuously make an effort to improve them. The questions that I always asked to myself were -

" Am I engaging the students in a very productive meaningful way? What new learning would I want my students to go home tonight with? Are my students building on what they learnt the previous day? Was there anything that struck to me that I could change while teaching and did I organise and prepare to make that change happen as quickly as possible so no time is wasted? Have I planned  rich tasks that will help my students to use new words in their reading writing or oral discussion time? "

  • Plan for tasks that focus on rich conversations in the classroom. provide multiple opportunities where students can try out the new words learnt during reading, inquiry or writing time. I did this by asking them a simple question - " What is a better word or a phrase for.....?". I also did this by making a vocabulary book which students could refer to when writing or looking for a better word.
  • Create an extensive reading environment where students had books on related topics. For example - If we were learning about planets, then I had heaps of books on planets. I made time to read these to the students, referred to new words, had these words on the word wall and in their personal vocabulary book, revisited these words continuously on a daily basis and encouraged students to use these words in their oral and written language. The reading programme also provided time to listen to texts and read for themselves. I deliberately chose school journals that had the audio for the texts available online and if not then used the speech option on their chrome books. This also included, shared reading, guided reading, reading to and listening to teacher selected digital texts. 
  • Discuss meanings of new words - We did this by acting them out and describing and discussing in what situations they would fit best. This stretched their word knowledge and gave them a chance to say out loud in what contexts they could use the new words.
  • Use Paul Nations first 2000 words for spelling programme. These are available on the net. This helped my students to become fluent writers without wasting much time on looking for spelling of words.
  • Choose carefully selected topics for writing. I planned for topics that would provide children to use the words they had learnt recently in their writings. Before writing we would discuss at length on the context and form oral paragraphs for our ideas. During these discussions I would feed in new words that we had previously learnt during reading or inquiry time. 
  •  Make a big deal about the smallest achievements noticed in the classroom so everyone gets motivated to learn new words.
By planning in such ways I have noticed that now students are increasingly able to read independently and many more words are available to them to when they are speaking and writing.