Friday, 21 September 2018

Learn - Research - Literature Review

Croner, P. E. (2003). Strategies For Teaching Science Content Reading. The Science Education
Review, 2(4).

Science students need to be aggressive reading their textbooks. They need to be active readers
who build background knowledge before beginning to read, know the purpose for reading, looks
for clues as to what the text will be about, makes predictions and breaks the text into manageable

Good readers use comprehension strategies such as forming a mental image, rereading, adjusting
the rate of reading, searching the text to identify unknown words, and predicting meaning that lies
ahead (Collins, 1994).

Word sort
First, students copy vocabulary terms onto note cards, one word per card. (The terms should
include both new and known words.) Then, either individually or in groups, students sort the words
into categories. The sorting may be closed (the teacher provides the categories) or open (students
choose their own categories and identify their own labels for each category). Once sorting has
finished, students should discuss the reasoning behind the choices they made.

This can also be done with SOLO hexagons, and students can explain the relationship between
words or ideas as they explain why they positioned them the way they have, in relation to one

Click or clunk strategy

This is a strategy for students as they read - students ask themselves as they read if sentences “click” for them or if it goes “clunk.” If it clunks, they should ask what they can do to make sense of
it. The purpose of this activity is to have the students slow their impulsivity and take some time to
check for understanding. This is a simple way of getting readers to stop their reading and rethink,
rather than continuing to read without comprehension.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Learn - Research

Session with Dr Jannie van Hees - Language in Abundance.

Having language in abundance means that students can be dripping in available language
to ascribe meaning.  

Knowledge is still important these days, and we arrive to knowledge through words; spoken
OR written. Learning new words grow brain connections and also allows learners to expand
their knowledge base. BUT! Learners need language to even begin to be able to learn!

Dr Jannie ran through the experience of learning under different conditions with more or
less language available each time. What do the differences mean for our learners’ experiences?

For example, making a kite:

1. The first condition is a video showing a very CLEAR demo only; no spoken or written
language available. These were my thoughts:

I could DO the thing but I wouldn't know why I was doing it or what the end goal is. As I’m
watching this video I am thinking to myself “that’s tape, get some tape, stick it on, oh ok make
a curve..” If I didn’t have language I would be able to mimic what I see but not learn much
about it. I also couldn’t tell anyone how to make one after. I might experience frustration. I might
not have the language to even ask for help.

2. The second condition was making a kite with both written and spoken language available
in the video. These were my thoughts:

If I didn’t have the language to understand what the written instructions were saying while
they were flashing up, or knew the names of the equipment then this condition could be
frustrating. The words do give a sense of context and purpose “we’re going to make a kite,
if you want to learn to make a kite keep watching!” Some words enhance the possibility of
knowing how to make a kite..

3. The third condition was an illustration with no spoken words, but written language is
available as a transcript on the side.

My reflection at this point in the presentation was:

To me this is cyclical? We need language to have the language to build knowledge from the
language, so we need to stop and look at the language carrying to concept - before, or after?
During? Do you do big-picture understanding with little, simplified language before you learn
the supporting subject-specific language that assists the understanding of the larger concept?
Or do you learn the subject-specific language to let students view and understand the larger
concept with the supporting vocabulary?

Manaiakalani and Tamaki’s inquiry question this year is - HOW? How do we get our students
to be ‘dripping with language’ to assist them in ascribing meaning?

Strategies from Dr Jannie van Hees

1. Focus on quantity (park the quality focus for a while) - ensure structures are in place in class
that allows language to flow. Don’t always ask for hands up - let the discussion flow. Set up a
safe culture where everyone’s contribution is a valuable contribution. There are gems to be had for
sure, but honour the efforts of anyone.

Anecdotal evidence of this from my year 13 biology class from Sharon on 8.2.18 “why did you put this
there?” I asked, about the SOLO hexagon arrangement her group had laid out. “Why, is it wrong?”
replied Sharon. “No,” I said, “I’m genuinely asking why you’ve arranged them like that, what were you
thinking about when you did that?!” “Oh!” exclaimed Sharon - “usually when a teacher says that it
means I’m wrong.

2. Elaborating - responding to the message and meaning of what students say and then gifting
them further words to add to their collection, and then giving them time to practice using the words
again. Have multiple encounters with vocabulary - not just repeats of the same context - but we
can’t learn from one time.

3. Talking aloud - talking about their thinking. Aim for TRULY dialogic conversation “oh I just
thought of something” says one kid “nah but there’s another way to do that” might say another.
Vocabulary will not carry meaning unless it’s put into context.

4. Reading in class - Do we read enough to kids? Do they read to each other?

5. Activate prior knowledge - Trigger the known to connect to the new.

We need to pay attention to how we get our young children to EXPLAIN.

Anecdotally, kids who are failing to cope with things and who snap sometimes can’t explain how
they’re feeling, while the ones who ARE coping CAN explain.

Explaining is also important because in NCEA being able to explain is Merit upwards.

Anecdotally - if you asked a student “what is a cup?” and they said “well you can drink from it,” then that is not an explanation. 

If you said “what is a cup?” and they were dripping in language and confident to use it then they might say “well a cup is a container that you can drink from. It has a handle that is perfect size for your fingers so you can hold it and not drop it, and you can put lots of liquids in it, such as hot or cold, coffee or water.”

Consider the sources of language in your classroom:

Spoken texts: face-to-face, television, lectures, presentations, classroom conversations, radio, 
brought-in experts. 

Written texts: teacher-selected, curriculum, incidental, displays, newspapers, students-selected, recreational reading, etc. 

Our inquiries are into how we build/lift the language of our akonga!

Friday, 31 August 2018

Learn - Hypothesise

What can I do to help improve my Maori students literacy levels in reading and writing?

Hook the boys in at the start of the topic or with novelty/action/humour.

Link to relevant contexts/cultural context.

Incorporate literacy strategies for both reading and writing - which will require me to up-skill!

Whatever I learn about literacy strategies as I do some further research will go in the
blue interventions box below!

Link to this plan here.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Learn - Identify Trends - Strategies

What literacy strategies are working for them in other classes?

The other day Student 2 told me that “science is boring” and social studies has much
better activities. I asked her to get me one of these better activities so I can see it,
which she did. It was a single piece of paper with a table on it, and it had students
making notes from a video and then forming conclusions from it. It had a nice stepping
stone nature too it, but the thing that I hypothesise the student liked about it was it related to
Maori and Pasifica migration from the Islands to New Zealand - it had relevance to the student.
Sometimes I find it hard to link science to culture. 

Anyway, I tried to recreate the format of the activity in science and it didn't work very well. 

My next step is to go and talk to a few of their other teachers and
find out what literacy strategies they've tried with this class and what works.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Learn - Scan

Yesterday I interviewed five of my target Māori students about their reading and writing habits at home and at school, both now and in the past. The code names for students remain the same.

I asked them what their reading habits were like at home:

Student 1 (e-asTTle reading level 4P)
Reads anime comics online, and they specified that these are both 'flicky' and downwards-scrolling texts. Student 1 "sometimes" reads offline.

Student 12 (e-asTTle reading level 3B)

Reads the Bible, and also visits the library to read 3x a week. Finds it too distracting to read at school.

Student 2 (e-asTTle reading level 3P)
Doesn't read at home, unless social media posts count.

Student 15 (e-asTTle reading level 4P)

No reading at home other than flicking through junk mail like newspapers and fliers.

Student 6 (e-asTTle reading level 3P)

Never reads at home.

I asked them what reading activities were like in Primary school, and all of them reported taking turns reading sentences or paragraphs in a book, being asked to summarize, and then answering questions about the text.

I found this interesting because students' didn't mention practicing identifying key points (without just reading out a full sentence), evidence, perspectives, key words and definitions - although this could have happened during the 'questions about the text' stage.

I asked them what strategies they would use to read a difficult science text.

Student 1 (e-asTTle reading level 4P) would just jump straight in and begin to read.

Student 12 (e-asTTle reading level 3B) would skim and scan first, identify key words, then read. They would ask friends about any words they found hard.

Student 2 (e-asTTle reading level 3P) would look for definitions.

Student 15 (e-asTTle reading level 4P) would "start from the beginning."

Student 6 (e-asTTle reading level 3P) would "just read" and if there was a difficult word they would "search it up."

I asked them how engaged out of 10 they were in school, and in science (there may be some bias because they were reporting this to me, their science teacher!)

Student 1 was 6 when friends were away, 4 when they were present, and 10 engaged in science
Student 12 was 9 in school and 8 in science
Student 2 5 in school and 8 in science
Student 15 was 7 and 7
Student 6 was 7 and 5.

I asked them if they could describe what they were learning in science at the moment, and all of them said "energy" along with "types of energy, such as kinetic, sound, and how they can't be created and destroyed." Student 2 went back in time and said "babies, DNA and genes."

I asked them whether they write differently in other classes compared to science:

Student 1 and 12 spoke together and said that in English they do fiction writing, but science is more factual. That they would "write anything" in English and use their imagination, but that science required fact.
Student 2, 15 and 6 said they didn't know..

And finally I asked them whether they had learnt any writing strategies in science:

Student 1 said he learnt everything in English.
Student 12 said simple sentences and adverb sentences.
Student 15 said adverbs.
Student 6 just shrugged.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

ROUND TWO - Intro - Learn - Gather Evidence

Now the new junior curriculum is being implemented, it’s time to focus on how it is impacting achievement of Maori students in junior science.

The area identified as impacting learner achievement most significantly in our cluster is the ability of our students at all year levels to read and write.

What is the problem, what is currently being done, what is working, and how can we improve?

There are six Maori students in my year 9 class. In answer to the question "what is the problem?" - let us look at their reading/writing e-aSSTle data. 

Students arriving at secondary school should be reading and writing at Level 4 or 5 of the curriculum. 

Only Student 15 is reading and writing at a level appropriate for a Year 9. 

Student 12 is writing at a Year 9 level but their reading is not, while Student 1 is able to read at a Year 9 age but their writing is at the level of an average New Zealand Year 5 or 6 student. 

What is currently being done? At Tamaki College we use the Accelerated Reader programme during Year 9 and 10 to increase the reading mileage of students, and scaffold their reading to a level that is both challenging yet achievable to them.

Students are guided to select books at the appropriate level (based on their initial scores and suggested Zone of Proximal Development) for them. Each day students read for a minimum of 20 minutes and during one English period a week they read for 50 minutes. When they complete a book, students complete a short quiz on the content of the book to check they read and understood it; score too low and they will be guided to an easier book, while a perfect 100% score means the book was too simple for them! The AR programme aims to extend students' reading abilities.

What is currently being done in science is largely up to the teacher. When I designed the new junior units I've tried to include some 'wide and deep' literacy units and each theme has readings attached to it. Now that I've progressed further through my inquiry into supporting literacy I realise there is so much more that can be done.

How can we improve?

That is the question that I will be focussing on during my second round of inquiry this year. I will still be focussing on Achievement Challenge 1: Raise Maori achievement through the development of cultural visibility and responsive practices across the pathway as measured by agreed reading targets for Years 1-10 and NCEA for Years 11-13.

However, I am also interested in writing, so some of that may creep in too!

I have given my second-round inquiry the title "Raising Maori student achievement by improving literacy in Science."

Here's the link to my initial outline.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Share - Reflect - Data Analysis

Week two with the Year 9 SOLO learning - does the pattern continue?
Week two is about the concept of natural selection!
Here are the learning outcomes for each SOLO level:

Here's what the rangaranga maha activity looks like:

At the end of the week I gathered data using this quizizz (only 10 questions) and then plotted it against their highest level of work completion:

Next I found an average quiz score for those who completed each SOLO level:

I found a similar pattern to last week :)

Once again I showed this to the class to reinforce that the more effort you put in to your learning, the more you learn!