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.