Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Inquiry

2017 - THE PLAN

Last year after looking at possibilities for using the reading recovery method but in a small group. we decided that this year we would trial the Quick 60 programme. A separate component of Quick 60 is a Foundation Programme; a new entrant class where the emphasis is on a structured method of learning the alphabet letters and sounds along with the basic words and early reading understandings. We decided we would also trial a Quick 60 Foundation reception class with the idea that children would stay in this class for a term or term and a 1/2 before being transitioned into the class they would be in for the rest of the year. 

Initially I arranged a visit to the Point England Kindergarten to see how best I could provide an environment that was a good transition into the expectations of school. I was impressed with the thinking skills and problem solving the kindergarten setting provided, with lots of opportunities for creative play and meaningful interactions between children. Given interesting and engaging activities lead to children having opportunities to hold conversations which extended their vocabulary and language structures while also extending their thinking, problem solving skills and social skills. I had the realisation that at school we too quickly limit the possibilities for children to nurture these skills by giving them such a narrow range of experiences in their daily school life. I decided that I would try to incorporate more free play into my reception programme alongside the very structured literacy learning the Quick 60 programme provided.

Another factor I wanted to include in the programme which connected well with the creative play was an emphasis on oral language building. I had come across an article that showcased a British school where they had incorporated a major focus on oral language across the whole school. Starting from day one the children learn skills in not only being able to share their own ideas but how to add onto others ideas, to question and to listen. By year 3 or 4 (about the year level shown in the clip) it was evident the children were not only very articulate in giving their opinions but had also developed greater critical thinking skills where they could look at issues from different perspectives and consider differing viewpoints and had at the same time also developed a set of effective social skills.

In light of the above considerations I have decided my inquiry focus will be..

How can a highly structured literacy programme (Quick 60) in conjunction with a focus on oral language improve outcomes over a 15 week new entrant programme.


My class has filled already so it has been a full-on 4 weeks. I have been impressed with how quickly the children have adjusted to a new environment with new routines and expectations. They are amazing!! 

What I have found is working well is the creative play and using that as a base to help extend language. Having an experience that children have just engaged in that has been  interesting for them but that as a teacher I know what they were doing means I can help extend their language when sharing about what they have been doing. I have been trying to incorporate daily sharing sessions.  What I have discovered in this though is the real limitations the children have in expressing their thoughts and ideas and even in answering a question relevantly. This has meant I have kept the sharing sessions to a quite structured format with children in groups of three taking turns to ask the set question, “What activity did you find interesting” followed by a response then the question, “Who were you playing with?”   Initially most of the children really struggled with this but with repetition and familiarity are becoming more confident. 

The first few weeks has been focussed on learning new routines and practising them, especially with new children starting every week. Already 2 have been shifted into another Year 1 class which has meant that 20 have started in the first 4 weeks. From week 2 I have been trying to include regular literacy small group teaching using the Quick 60 routine. However the reality is that for new new entrants it doesn’t quite run to plan as expected. Everything takes way longer, so I’m not sure that I’m as on track with where we are expecting to be able to get them to by the end of the term.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Praise Process

Interesting. Need to remember to praise process in order to develop a growth mindset.
Check it out.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Power of Oracy in the Classroom

My fellow teacher/mentor/idea bouncer/buddy Helen King shared this link about a school in England that places a real importance on the teaching of oracy skills in the classroom. Watching it showed how powerful this emphasis could be, in not only expanding children's critical thinking and literacy skills, but also their social skills, and empathy towards others.
Very inspiring.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Term 2 Reflection

This term has continued to be a focus on strategies for reading. I have looked at the points I made at the end of last term that I wanted to consider more carefully and have reflected about these.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Learning Model

Today at our Teacher Only Day we had a look at our Learning Model with the view to it needing to be revised, revamped or replaced .....
It was quite interesting having the chance to wander through Stonefields school to see  their model. What we all found apparent was the consistency throughout the school with what was displayed and talked about. There were lots of really good components that were teased out in detail.
However what I found a little difficult was to get the overall picture easily and coherently.

With this in mind it made me realise that throughout this whole process we need to remember what the purpose for the Learning Model is.  I think that the Learning Model is to help the children understand and be guided in their learning. There are many different components that contribute to this from the key competencies and attitudes to skills and processes.  The dilemma then becomes how to incorporate all these important elements into a model while still keeping the model cohesive and easily remembered for the children to use. The difficulty with a model based on key words is that too many makes it clunky and then hard to incorporate into a simple diagram. But trying to keep it simplistic so it looks uncluttered then means that many components can't be included or have to be part of some other aspect of learning outside of the learning model (as they were at Stonefields)

So in considering all of these points has lead me to wonder if the best way to approach it, is to think of a metaphor or picture that is memorable yet cohesive, but also has the scope to include the many components. As we were discussing possibilities  for portraying our own version of the thinking pit, different images and metaphors were introduced such as Stuck in the Mud (stemmed from Ukutoia) Manaiakalani  and the Hook from heaven with the stars, waka etc. So why not use something that is significant for our school or area that is a single image which then become a narrative where many components can be represented and talked about. I think for children this picture or metaphor would make those triggers to help them be successful in their learning more visible and memorable.