Monday, 14 May 2018

Encouraging Read to Learn Behaviours

Today, our staff had our second training session on Understanding Behaviour-Responding Safely.  Below are some of the take away points that I found interesting and notable. 

Dilemma: Managing Safety and Obtaining Teaching

We need to find the balance between managing safety with teaching.   

Creating Effective Environments

-Providing lots and lots of practice (modelling, praise, rewards/incentives, provide processing times, have different expectations for different kids)
-Explicitly teaching (and scaffolding) what our expectations are

Relationship Factors:
-Stronger relationships increase the likelihood of a positive outcome
-To help students maintain emotional regulation, we need them to feel safe and connected.
-We want students to feel valued and to believe that teachers want the best for them.
-If a student perceives that you do not care for them or that they will always be on the 'losing side' of things they will loose the ability to emotionally regulate. 
      -The student perceives the context as being unsafe, uncaring and creating a conflict.

Maintaining Calm-verbal
-avoids and minimises conflict
-highlights a win/win situation
-reflects an individual's autonomy and status
-supportive and shows you want to help
-separates you from the problem

We need to understand:
1. Managing safety and teaching
2. How to create effective learning environments
3. The importance of relationships
4. How to support emotional regulation
5. The importance of non-verbal strategies
6. The importance of verbal strategies
What is one factor from above that you can attempt to change in your classroom today?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Reading or Oral Language

Do we do we do more of the same and not make the difference or do we change what we are doing and make the difference?
-Dr. Jannie van Hees

After hearing Dr. van Hees make this statement, I felt that I had been given "permission" to simply "roll with it" during our oral reading session. I am reading a novel to my class called "My New Zealand Story: Harbour Bridge" by Phillipa Werry.   I chose this read aloud because our school topic focus for the term is Physics: Force and Motion.  My hope was to engage my students (especially the boys) from a different angle using something that is part of their everyday life. 

We are having a great time reading this story, and having many discussions about New Zealand history along the way.  My class is beginning to feel empowered to further their own understanding about a topic they come across while reading.  We have learnt about Opo the dolphin and after hearing from Dr. van Hees, we spent some time exploring famous bridges of the world simply by looking at pictures. 

Students were asked to share what they saw with a partner and then report back to the class what their partner said. I took some time to record what they shared on poster paper so we could use them again at a later date. 

It was awesome seeing how engaged by students were and how they were making connections between the bridges by comparing and contrasting what they were seeing. 

We may not have done any actual "reading" sessions that day, but I believe the learning that took place in my classroom was far more valuable.  My students are now fascinated about bridges around the world and want to know more.  

I think I may have found a future reading assignment for later in the term. 

Language Acquisition: Using a Video Clip Day 1

This week, I decided to try out the video clip technique shared with us by Jannie during our CoL PD last week.  In planning for this exercise, I chose a video clip that provided a chance for my students to extend their knowledge on the four elements that are required for flight, which is our topic focus for Term 2.   I spent some time looking for a youtube video that would be in the "Goldilocks" zone for my students.  Hopefully, this will help provide an avenue for language acquisition to take place as Dr. van Hees suggested.

First, I spent some time watching the video and writing a transcript of the material presented.  I quickly realised that the video was too long to use for one session, and I decided to split it into two parts hoping that my students would be able to understand all four elements by the end of the second session.

As a class, we watched the video.  Then, after discussing what they learnt (or heard about) with a partner, we had a class discussion sharing what our partners learnt.  Students were asked to repeat or rephrase what they heard the student sharing with the class.  As students were sharing, I was creating a topic web on a large piece of poster paper for the students to refer to.

 Then, we popped the transcript up on the television screen, and I read it aloud paragraph by paragraph. We stopped after each and pair/shared before reporting back to the whole class.  Once again, I modelled creating a word web for my students on poster paper in front of the class.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of vocabulary my students were able to pick up from this activity.  Students were then asked to create a Google Drawing illustrating what we learnt (using the notes I made on the poster).

 I am excited to do it once again next week with the remainder of the video.  For the first time going through this process, my students did relatively well.  We still need to go over turning my notes into their own sentences, but we will get there...together. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

A Formative Assessment

In response to the presentation by Dr. Aaron Wilson (WFRC) last week, I spent some time today reflecting on a few key areas that he included as important when formatively assessing our own Teaching Inquiry.  

CoL PD: Aaron Wilson Formative Assesessment

Aaron Wilson
Formative Assessment for our Inquiry

As part of our Week 1, Term 2 CoL Meeting we heard from Dr. Wilson from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre and he discussed with us how to formatively assess our own Teaching Inquiry. Below are the outcomes that he suggested we (as teachers) use to assess our inquiries at this time.

Outcomes for Today:

1. Restate your Inquiry Question and your theory of action/chain of events (keep your eyes on the prize!)
2. Describe how you will collect information about the implementation of your changed practices/intervention (so it is clear what you are doing effectively)
3. KEY POINT: Clearly show readers what you did differently so they can make a judgement on whether or not it is reasonable to think that changed learner outcomes are related to your teaching practices
-Be sure to use a repeated measure (same tool..over and over)
-Detailed description before, during and after the intervention
-Show exactly how the learning changed for the student
4. Identify informal and formal ways you are monitoring the effects of your changed practices/interventions on desired learner outcomes and explain the reflections and tweaks you are making along the way (so you don’t wait until the end of your inquiry cycle and find it didn’t works)
5. Be sure to plan some formal checkpoints
-Checkpoints provide a systematic way that shows how students are experiencing the intervention and whether or not the impact you are trying to achieve is occuring
-Use micro-formative assessments at set intervals (ARBS, mini asTTle reading tests, etc).
-Student voice is vital! Be sure to collect this regularly in a manageable way. Ex: Quick fire “exit” questions
6. Describe how you will keep a record of each of the above in a manageable way (cuz you won’t otherwise remember all your many micro-decisions and why you made them)

CoL PD: Language in Abundance

Janni van Hees
Language in Abundance

Major Sources of Language are noticed by students anywhere anytime in any text.

Our work is to heightened the acquisitional potential.  
-What is the optimal condition for learning?

1. Children rely on two things for optimal language learning.
  1. Receiving
  2. Trying
How can we as teachers balance the usage of these two things that are noticeable.
We are very good as educators at providing avenues for students to  try language
(general classroom interactions/discussion).  However, we aren’t always providing avenues
for students to be exposed to new language that will ultimately allow them to acquire the
language into their own word bank.

2. Unless you have optimal learning conditions you will not be able to have optimal
learning take place.

3. Students need to be scaffolded to be effective conversationalists.

4. Planning Preparing Providing-Language Acquisition Potential

Next Steps:

Show a short 1-1:30 minute video clip that has vocabulary/information in the “Goldilocks”
zone for the children.  Have students pull out information and annotate down the side of the
video (try using VideoNotes with more able students). Also, provide a transcript of the video
for students to read in a pair, or together as a group. By providing students with multi-modal
ways to experience the same information multiple times provides an avenue for language

Friday, 13 April 2018


Through argumentation you get the generalizations from students to make their justifications.

Deeping Mathematical Explanations.
  • Have students develop two or more ways to explain a solution which may include using materials (provided nearby the class...not given or suggested to the students to use)
  • Compare explanations and develop the norm of what makes that explanation acceptable. Reinforce what makes it mathematical.
    • 15x3…..reinforce the story 15 what? 3 what?...remind students to label/record that to improve our explanation.
    • Have others ask questions….this is a from of mathematical reasoning
  • Reinforce the acceptability of multiple ways. Support them to make connections to other or previous problems.

Be sure to explicitly note student behaviour that supports mathematical practices.

Reminding kids to ask how to make sense of what they are doing for themselves and for sharing with others.

-Be mindful of student body language especially with those who are generally
withdrawn from learning.  They are often the ones playing with the materials
but they are actually able to use them and explain their thinking.
-Choosing the “visual” solving group to report first often allows for deeper
understanding when hearing from those who have a higher level response.

What is my next step for Term 2?
I want to be sure that my students are able to link back to and remember the context of the problem. It is about finding the solution to the story not solving a maths questions properly. I also want to focus on incorporating our norms into my classroom on a daily basis across subject areas.

These are a teaching tool.. They are not for the students to use on each other.  There are many different talk moves but this set is a useful summary.

REPEATING: Always ask a student who has been listening and is confident to speak. This is used to provide understanding across the room for a point that has been made by one group.
  • Who can say that again?
  • Who can put that into their own words?
  • Who can restate what (name) said?
  • Can anyone repeat what they heard (name) say?
  • Tell us what your partner said.

CLARIFYING:  student thinking and thinking of others
  • Wait Time: ask the question and wait it out until that student is ready to report...used to provide “think time” to a student or group while reporting back to the class….Everyone (including teacher) is silent
  • Turn and Talk (Circulate and listen) This is very powerful especially during the share back time
  • Stop and Jot (circulate and observe)
  • Will you share that with the class?
  • Say more (who can say more; tell us more about what you are thinking; would you give an example?)
  • So you are saying….? (Revoicing)

DEEPENING: student understanding and reasoning
  • Why do you think that?
  • What is your evidence?
  • How did you get that answer?
  • What convinced you that was the right answer?
  • Why did you think that strategy would work?
  • Can you prove that? What makes you think that?

ENGAGING: with the reasoning of others
  • What do you think about that?
  • Do you agree or disagree? Why? (BE EXPLICIT)
  • Who can add on?
  • What do other people think about that?
  • Does anyone have a different way of looking at this?
  • Does anyone have more evidence?

Instructional activities (Quick Images) can be used and adapted at many levels.   Good for visual representations and equations (excellent for moving into multiplying).

Steps in a Lesson

  1. Anticipate: what will I expect to see from my students?
    1. Predict and record different ways students will solve a problem
    2. First, have the group discuss. Present the pen once everyone has shared in the small group and are ready to begin working it out on paper.
  2. Set Norms/Launch: Norms then Launch
  3. Monitor: make note of who is doing what
    1. Close listening and noticing
    2. Questioning to make thinking visible and to allow students to refine or revise their thinking
    3. Pressing students to consider all aspects of the task
  4. Select: which 2 groups will share back
  5. Sequence: what order will they present in?
  6. Connect: Circulate back to the BIG idea