My class blog- 2016

I am a class teacher for year four students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are also a part of the Manaiakalani ClassOnAir.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

COA - Lesson 12: Analysing writing

The purpose of this lesson was to encourage students to write narratives that will captivate the reader's interest. To do this I wanted them to analyse samples of writings using a rubric. The process allowed them to have a look at how teachers would be marking samples. It also gave them an insight into what they usually miss doing when writing as they were not aware of the progressions in the rubric. Now when having looked at the rubric, most of them have set a higher goal for themselves and are trying to achieve it.
The lesson is done in 2 sessions. Session 1 is on how good planning leads to good writing. The focus is mainly on collaborating ideas to give more depth to writing. The second session is on using a rubric to analyse writing.

Click here to view this lesson.

My Reflections

Through this lesson I have tried to extend students’ writing by encouraging them to write captivating stories for their audience. Till now most students in my class have been writing narratives without much detail. One of the reasons why I do not see the trend changing is because I need to focus more on vocabulary that children need for their writing. An attempt has been made to collaborate so that students get more ideas of each other to write a detailed narrative. I have also tried to extend them by using dialogue in their narratives.
At the end of the lesson, some students used the dialogue and some forgot, so I reminded them to use the dialogue they had written in their plans.
My students still need a lot of practice to fluently use appropriate dialogue in the correct place, in their writings. At present, they are randomly inserting dialogue anywhere they please. So I will read them books during Teacher read time. The purpose will be to draw their attention to how the author uses dialogue to enhance meaning. I would do this through a strategy known as 'think aloud'.

The second part of the lesson mainly captures their understanding of how to use the rubric and be able to analyse and give feedback to their buddies and themselves. To begin with, students have used three elements of the rubric. These are:
  • Captivating audience’s interest
  • Punctuation
  • Character and setting.
I was pretty pleased with the group of students who had their  first attempt at analysing a piece of writing written by one of their classmates. I did not disclose the name of the student whose writing I had used for the purpose of moderation.

It was interesting to see how they collaborated and discussed with each other when moderating the sample. They all decided on a mark and gave reasons on why they think that mark should be given. This was a moment when I felt very successful as a teacher. I was proud of them. This exercise has also given me an indication that some of my students are ready for further extension.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Class OnAir - Lesson 11

For the last two weeks I have been teaching Narrative writing to my students. To begin with I gave
my students a picture prompt to write on. They were very familiar with narrative writing and so I expected to see some good writing. At the end of the writing session I realised that most of the students wrote scantily and did not have detail, describing words, extended punctuation or paragraphs in their narrative. So this prompted me to plan my lessons again...

I use the TOPS model for narrative

T- Title
O- Orientation
P- Problem
S- Solution

So I started by teaching how to write a good setting for narratives. First I used an exemplar from a Junior journal that they analysed. We focussed on sense words like what can we see, hear, smell or feel. Then students used pictures to write a setting for the different scenes.
Sequence of this lesson can be viewed on Manaiakalani Class OnAir

                                           Task 1 - Analysing a passage from a book

I need to teach every little step of narrative writing in detail. My students would benefit from modelling, learning, creating, sharing, analysing and being able to give feedback to one another on their work. I need to keep revisiting what student learn during their writing sessions so that do not forget what they learn. I also need to provide them with a good bank of words so that they feel comfortable expressing themselves when writing.

Monday, 21 August 2017

My Inquiry for T3 and T4 - Maori student's writing

For the second half of the year we at Tamaki are focussing on Maori student's writing. I have chosen five students from my class who are mostly from Maori backgrounds. What I have noticed with these students is that their writing lacks detail and depth. Most students in this group are not motivated enough to revisit their drafts to improve their stories. They are very reluctant to use illustrations/ exemplars to analyse their writing. Through my inquiry, I want to encourage these students to try and use specific and interesting vocabulary to create mood and effect in their stories.
My inquiry question is - Does specific teaching of new words help in improving the student's writing
Who are our target students for Writing in Term 3 and 4?
Hinemoa – AT level 1
Maani – AT L1
Dereon - ATL2
Leon – ATL1
Railey – BL1
What do we know about them socially?
All students respond very warmly. They are happy in class and in school. All except for Railey has English as his second language.
What can these students do?
English is a second language for Railey. He is very fluent in Filipino and speaks Filipino at home. Railey is learning to construct sentences that make sense. He is becoming fluent at writing basic sight words. He also tries to sound out new words phonetically. He tries to learn spelling of new words. Railey is very unsure and so he constantly asks for help to make sure what he write is written correctly.
Maani is fluent at writing simple sentences. She can write some compound sentences and is not very consistent with using her punctuation correctly. Maani is learning to elaborate on her ideas and is learning to use specific vocabulary in her writing.
Hinemoa has lovely ideas but is not able to express herself clearly when writing. She is learning to use paragraphs for her ideas. Hinemoa is learning to use new words in her writing and is beginning to use capital letters and full stops in correct places. She is also learning to use interesting words to make her story capitivating.
Leon had very detailed and elaborate stories when it comes to narrating them orally. He find it hard to write his story that makes sense. He is learning to use correct punctuation and powerful interesting words in his writing. Leon s learning to add detail to his ideas and use paragraphs for his ideas.
Dereon writes extensive stories but sometimes his ideas are repetitive and so his stories can get monotonous. He is learning to put capital letters and full stops in correct places. Dereon is learning to use specific vocabulary and add interesting words to his stories. He is learning to use paragraphs for his ideas.
What steps would I take to improve outcomes for my target students in writing?
  • Share a few good examples of writing and analyse these writings, particularly for Vocabulary and discuss why certain words can have more affect that others.
  • Make word clines.
  • Encourage students to use more specific words in their writing.
  • Encourage students to identify and attend to new words that they come across while reading text.
What does “at expectation” look like for these students? How, by focusing on this, do I propose to contribute to and influence Student Achievement Outcomes?
I am hoping that in course of time, students will use interesting words which will come out naturally when writing. Students will understand the subtle differences in the synonyms of words and will fluently use the correct words to set the scene and develop mood, expression and feelings in their stories.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Understanding Ratios- Lesson on Manaiakalani Google Class On Air

Last week I taught ratios to my class for the first time. My students had no idea of what ratios were and so I started by teaching them simple concepts to make them understand what was meant by ratios.
Click here to view my introductory presentation.

I gave them an example of beats in music and we also learnt the language associated with ratios like 2:3 is said as two is to three'. I also invited Mr. Caleb Strickland our music teacher to teach ratios. This was just awesome as students could make connections to how ratios are used in other areas like music. Then we moved on to problem solving.
It was a great lesson as all students in class understood ratios and have begun to look for examples of ratios in everyday life.

Click here to view my complete lesson

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Introducing the Term 3 - Choice and Inquiry based Learning

Last week I did my 'Big Reveal' for the Term.  The 'Big Reveal' at our school is about introducing the topic for unit studies for the Term. The topic for this term is ' Entertainment and Leisure'.
I wanted my students to get hooked on to the topic right from the beginning so I gave them time to think about what they were interested in. All they said was rugby, soccer, gymnastics and other sport activities. They had no idea about the things that they could pursue and could get interested in. I wanted our inquiry to be a platform of innovation where students would get motivated to inquire and create not because I have asked them to research on a topic but about something they themselves were eager to find out.
To get them thinking and foster this spirit of inquiry, I planned a little expo of hobbies. I created a display in my class when my students were away for 'Kiwi Can'. The display consisted of books about different hobbies. There was a big range of topics e.g.

Countries, Cultures and Travelling

Inventions, Aeroplanes and Motorbikes

Human body

Ancient civilisations and castles

Story telling, Arts and Crafts, Gardening, Cooking, Painting Kite making, Mask Making and Drawing

I am a firm believer of choice and inquiry based learning. It increases student engagement and achievement. 
The display proved to be electrifying for the students. They spent a whole hour reading books to find what caught their interest the most. I could see the pure passion in their eyes. Even the ones who are usually not very focussed in class had something to say about their hobbies.

I felt a very satisfied teacher and was happy about the way I had introduced the topic to my students for the Term. In the end we made list the hobbies that we were interested to pursue and explore deeper.

  • Cooking and Travelling
  • Aeroplanes
  • Robotics
  • Circuits
  • Farming
  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Kite making 
  • Painting
  • Counties and culture.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Target students - where to at the end of Term 2

Today we had a Data discussion day and each teacher was required to present their teaching and learning journey for their target students.  All my target students were Maori students. At the end of Term 2 they are all AT the standard for Maths. Have a little peek through my presentation about what worked for my students.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Creativity with Maths - Part 3

Last week we had a finale for our Maths creativity, when our parents came into our class and played fraction games with us. We had a Maths open day at school and we decided to showcase our fraction games which were all made by us.

Click here to view the Class on Air lesson on fractions.
Creativity empowers learning!