On Monday our staff attended Dr Rebecca Jesson's presentation 'T-Shaped Literacy for teachers of Year 1 - 3' at PT England School. Having used the T-shaped literacy approach for a number of years I know the benefits that can be gained from wide and deep reading. Seeing this done through the eyes of a junior school teacher has provided me with a deeper understanding as I know see how I can use this to meet the learning needs of my struggling learners too.
Thursday, 24 June 2021
Today I worked with my focus students to practise using our LS2 oral language framework in context. This is the process we followed:
- Write a question on the board that linked directly to the strategy of long multiplication that we have been learning this week.
- Students then answer the question using the known strategy on whiteboards to give them a visual reference for sharing time.
- Use the LS2 oral language framework to explain the steps they followed to find their answer.
- Reflect on which question/s we found most useful and unpack thinking.
- Share what we found 'hard'.
- Repeat the process
One student shared that they weren't able to share their strategy confidently because they didn't have the maths words to explain the steps they followed, so after some quick thinking on my part, I wrote a list of the maths words on the board. (Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of this.) The image below is an example of what we did. The focus here was on the strategy, not on identifying the maths in a written question.
This term I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a poetry focus group run by Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey. Each week Sheena has worked with a group of students who find writing a challenge, to front load them with the skills needed to find success in a poetry task. I then follow the plans shared by Sheena and Louise with the whole class during our reading and writing lessons.
I have noticed that the students who Sheena has been working with are empowered and fully engaged in this learning, taking on a leadership role each and every time. The poems below are the end result of a whole class collaborative writing lesson. Our focus here was to use the 5 senses to describe an abstract noun using similes and metaphors.
Monday, 14 June 2021
After realising neither myself nor my students had made a strong connection to the language used in theTalk Moves framework we changed the speaking frames to incorporate the language we use. I explained why we were making these changes, then embraced the changes my students suggested.
- 'Who has a different strategy? let students avoid self doubt if they had no strategy to share'.
- 'My group feel that Who has a different strategy? and What other strategies could we use? are the same so maybe we could choose the one that helps us share our thinking more confidently.'
- Can you tell me what you said? and Do you mean… are asking the same information.
Thursday, 10 June 2021
Monday, 7 June 2021
Last week I was writing some blog posts linked to my 2021 Inquiry and realised I had 'lost' my direction and focus. Having been the in-school COL teacher since 2017, I was initially thrown by this realisation as I know that I know how to carry out an in depth inquiry. Rather than find excuses for not being on top of my game I decided to find out why so I began by reading the posts that captured my journey so far this year. I then looked back over pervious inquiries and realised there were two important parts missing. An actual inquiry question and a causal chain. I was actually quite shocked that even though I had an inquiry underway I had somehow overlooked writing the actual question.
Step one was to amend this immediately, however it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I was trying to fit too much information into a very small space. Fortunately Dr Jannie Van Hees came to the rescue and helped me put into words everything I was trying to say. This wasn't a planned meeting but was definitely a very worthwhile conversation. Dr Jannie reminded me that my question needed to be succinct and through questioning helped me 'drill down' to what it was I actually wanted to focus on which is, 'Will using Talk Moves in maths accelerate student confidence and capability to use spoken and written maths vocabulary and language?'
Step two was to put my causal chain together. I found this so much easier once I had a succinct question to guide me. I have used a causal chain for a number of years and is one of the ways I help the PBS teachers put their inquiries together. Causal chains help to plan steps forward (ie: a cause leads to an effect and that effect becomes the cause of another effect - A leads to B. B leads to C. C leads to D) by working backwards to create a chain of events that unpack the logic of the actions of the inquiry. Once I had done this I had more clarity but still felt a bit lost so I asked for help. I feel that highlighting the fact I asked for help this is important because so many of us overlook this step, preferring to muddle our way through rather than reaching out. It takes a village and within the Manaiakalani cluster we have many people who can and willingly give support when it is needed.
Step three was to organise a meeting with Fiona Grant to talk through my inquiry so far. Fiona helped me see that I that my hypothesis is if I use 'talk' to help my learners gain a deeper understanding of maths vocabulary, this widened connection to maths words will provide opportunities to improve their reading comprehension which will in turn lead to accelerated achievement in maths. I want to find out if using Talk Moves to 'learn' to talk in Maths will help my learners 'learn' through talk. Alongside this I want to see if the knowledge and skills gained can be transferred from the classroom to the blogs.
Fiona asked me what was happening now in relation to my inquiry. I explained that I have introduced, unpacked and created group norms. I have introduced and unpacked the TM framework prompt 'So you're saying' to encourage my learners to actively listen to others' responses. At that point Fiona asked me if my learners understood what that meant. This was when it dawned on me the reason I was 'lost' was because my learners did not have ownership of the Talk Moves process. 'So you're saying' is not how we speak. My students can't see themselves in the framework so there is no personal investment.
As the in-school COL teacher I am always looking for ways I can support our PBS teachers. My takeaways from speaking with Jannie and Fiona are:
- Inquiry questions need to be succinct
- Ask for help if you need it
- Use 'I'm hearing' when teachers are talking about their inquiries so that I am guiding not telling.
- Create a causal chain to help visualise your theory of action.
Sunday, 6 June 2021
Share three pieces of academic or professional reading and explain how they and other sources helped you form hypotheses about aspects of teaching that might contribute to current patterns of learning.
If I want to use Talk Moves in maths accelerate student confidence and capability to use spoken and written maths vocabulary and language I need to make sure I have set the norms that allow for academically productive talk to take place.
Page 13 of this reading suggests four goals that might support me in providing a learning environment where academically productive talk to take place
- Individual students share, expand and clarify their own thinking
- Students listen carefully to one another
- Students deepen their reasoning
- Students think with others
Oracy is defined as ‘the ability to use the oral skills of speaking and listening’.... Spoken language is... of equal importance to reading and writing.... we need to make our classrooms talk-rich environments where every child is encouraged, expected and supported to develop a range of effective speaking and listening skills in a range of contexts.... Strategies for talk need to be in place to promote the transfer of knowledge, skills.... In practice this means there are two aspects to oracy, each equally important: learning to talk (oracy education) and learning through talk (dialogic approaches to teaching and learning).