Tag Archives: Angela Stockman

Part 3: Working with Mark (Year 10) to Be a Better Writer

Unpacking the Year 10 and now Year 11 English curriculum in Australia is challenging and something I wish I’d done earlier in my career. Yes, we must know our primary curriculum and early secondary (to a point) but pulling apart these higher levels is interesting.

Angela Stockman has given me some excellent advice and even though I’ve been unpacking curriculum for many years, these standards are complex. Her advice is breaking the standards into learning targets that can be taught in one lesson and can be understood by teacher and student. This is essential to develop Learner Agency. Each standard has multiple targets and as my time with Mark is short, I need to maximise learning.  

be-a-better-writer-2Whilst putting this continuum together, I’ve been working with Mark on punctuation. Steve Peha recommended we do the Punctuation Inquiry activity in Be a Better Writer.

Punctuation Inquiry helps you learn how marks are used. Once you’ve read through a passage and figured out the punctuation, figure out why it’s there.’ Steve Peha

Steve uses a simple chart with three headings:

Example- Why It’s Used- Questions & Comments.

Mark and I focussed on capitalisation. We read through the example and discussed the use of capitals. He describes looking closely at a text as close reading. This is a quick activity and can be done daily on 75-100 words a day. What an excellent launch activity.

Next we looked at Punctuation Reading. The background Steve gives for this is that ‘most of us aren’t fully aware of punctuation when we read.’

We read the passage in Be a Better Writer and then we read the passage again with the punctuation noted in words e.g. new paragraph, indent, capital on a dark capital December night in 1776 comma…

This short paragraph contained 48 marks of punctuation, ten different types of punctuation and fifteen uses of punctuation which are explained in the book.

Steve states that this activity helps you ‘learn the names of the marks’ and ‘helps you develop a sense for how they’re used in published writing.’ Another great launch activity for the classroom.

Mark is reading Triage by Scott Anderson for English. He decided that writing a chapter summary would help him to analyse the text. Summarising the first chapter was excellent, because the first chapter sets the scene, introduces the characters and emotions and plot.

Mark wrote a well thought out paragraph. It was clearly presented, double line spaced and did not require rewriting! The punctuation was in place, placed for meaning and his spelling has greatly improved. I’ve called this his ‘awareness phase’.

I also love the dedication page in Be a Better Writer.

‘Use it to talk to your students about what matters most in writing. Use it to show them the writer you are so they’ll have a model for the writers they’ll become.’ Steve Peha

We break standards into learning targets that are kid friendly and teachable in a single lesson. They use kid language, and we put them on the board or on our anchor charts.We break standards into learning targets that are kid friendly and teachable in a single lesson. They use kid language, and we put them on the board or on our anchor charts.

Each standard has multiple targets, typically. We share them with kids.

It makes things far more meaningful.

 Cheers Nina

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The teaching text we/I need! Just imagine…

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To the many teachers who contact me about the work of Angela Stockman and Steve Peha.

Just imagine having at your fingertips a writing text or texts which take you from curriculum design to implementation to assessment and where instruction is guided from student work… and written for the Australian Curriculum and other curriculums. That would be something because I know there’s a gap. Yes, there is some excellent material out there but it’s difficult to implement. Imagine…. if the text and extras were cloud based as well. I can!!

Just maybe, and I mean maybe, this could happen and I’ll keep all posted here! Fingers crossed!

Cheers Nina

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Steve Peha: Be a Better Writer – When are you coming to Australia Steve?

Peha

I’ve been incorporating Steve Peha’s writing strategies into my writing teaching for many years. I don’t have a huge amount of Facebook friends but I’m pleased Steve is one of them! You’ll find some amazing support here… Also when Angela Stockman recognises a literacy leader, I listen! Another Facebook friend! 🙂

Website

Cheers Nina

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Assessment: Choose tools that will help you expedite this process!

‘the IB helps schools teaching the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to identify what students know, understand, can do and value at different stages in the teaching and learning process’

‘In the PYP, learning is viewed as a continuous journey, where teachers identify students’ needs and use assessment data to plan the next stage of their learning.’

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Kunyung Primary School

 

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Love this chart and it’s so relevant to what I’m doing!

Emma RAR

The above report provides recommendations for future learning: reading behaviours, retelling and comprehension at the students ‘point of need’. I can also print a report of what the student ‘knows, understands and can do’. Fantastic!

Expedite Analysis: Choose tools that will help you expedite this process. Angela Stockman

This is why I’m choosing to talk about the PM Benchmark RAR and digital software. We must have ‘point of need’ data to plan future learning goals and we need to teach! We have to know what our student’s understand, know and can do and our students need to be able to  demonstrate what they know and articulate their learning goals.

Balance is the key… assessment which supports future learning is what I’m about and when a benchmark reading system gives you what you need to set goals with a learner… I’m going to spread the word.

Cheers Nina

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Western New York Education Associates: My Fellowship Project: Improved student writing leads to improved reading. (Part 1)

I’m probably undertaking the longest fellowship research project known to Angela Stockman. Deciding what to research when I have so many ideas has been the hardest thing. Nailing down something that I felt could make a difference and reaffirm something I have believed for some time has been the key to my moving forward.

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Is there a positive impact on reading standards when students understand there are different writing genres and each genre has its own structure?

My answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as just saying that!

What I know!  When young children come to school many start writing and can read back their writing at the time of writing. However, many of these very young learners struggle to read back what they have written when presented with their writing at a later time.

What I know!  When is the shift ? Once students have learnt basic reading strategies and can read simple books (PM Level 5 or Fountas & Pinnell Level D) we have  shift. When combined with a core sight word list comprising of 30 words learners start moving rapidly.  Further vocabulary is learnt during the reading and writing process (context). These young learners are now learning about writing genres and how a text is written. They are connecting writing to reading and reading to writing…. and when they start seeing themselves as authors and sharing their writing with others they have purpose which means shift.

What I know! Focussing on teaching genres has an impact on a student’s understanding of how authors follow a set genre plan when writing. Once young learners are writing they are  initially  introduced to a Recount structure with the Narrative genre following soon after.

When young learners understand  genre structure  and start using  structures when composing their reading comprehension soars.

Example: Students who know there is a problem and solution in a narrative will look for the problem and solution when reading a text. Students who are learning the 6 Traits of Writing (Ideas and Content, Organization, Sentence Fluency, Voice an Word Choice) will be making connections to these when reading.

When young learners make the following connections – reading to writing and writing to reading their comprehension improves rapidly.

Young learners need to connect writing to reading and reading to writing and understand how each is reliant on the other. Reading skills need to be explicitly taught but not taught in isolation. Reading and writing sessions need to link prior learning to new learning including reading and writing small group teaching and assessment strategies.

Recently Angela Stockman sent me a link to The Writing Revolution.  This article was reaffirmed the learning trends I have been recording.

For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform. (The Writing Revolution)

Next post: Show me the data!

Cheers Nina

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The Studio Teacher Fellowship Program – WNY Education Associates: What have I been learning?

In 2014, I was given the opportunity to complete a Fellowship project under the guidance of Angela Stockman. I’m currently writing a paper summarizing what I’ve learnt. Initially my project started with a simple question:

What are the key ‘bump up’ indicators which should be on a student continuum?

Sounds simple! Well, that’s an understatement… I decided to start by looking at the continuums we have in place at my school, which are based on Fountas and Pinnell. How could I make these usable for my young writers? Then I started asking my young writers…

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December School and Europe 2015 002

December School and Europe 2015 003

Photo: This student was in their second year of schooling in Australia (Year 1). The student is in control of all aspects of their writing from the beginning. I presented the topic for this piece of writing but that’s it. I’m teaching this student again this year and many others, and I’m wondering what their writing will be like at the end of this year.

My project changed many times after exploring current research, speaking to other educators and most importantly my students. How could I nail down a topic or could I?  The very action of looking at my student’s writing and speaking to individual students about what helps them to be the best learners and writers has guided my project. My paper will finish with a list of recommendations largely created by six, seven and eight year old students and I’ll share those here.

Cheers Nina

 

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I wanted to respond to a comment but it became too long. Thanks Helen! It gave me another opportunity to reflect on where I’m heading. Continuums! The big ‘UM’…

Fellowship Project: Angela Stockman WYN Education Associates

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Background thinking!

I have to choose my words carefully here because assessment is vital, but not when the assessment overrides teaching. I’m seeing teachers sitting at tables individually assessing students for long periods of time during what I think should be ‘on the feet’, small group and whole class instruction time. The assessment looks impressive, but is it really? Is the assessment driving learning or is it all about where the student is?

Assessment drives teaching (absolutely) but is everything we are assessing necessary? I know it’s not! However, having said this, what are the crucial ‘clicks’ which move a student from one stage to the next? I have ideas and hunches but I need to validate these using the grounded research methodology which I’m learning about now.

I do feel that when we educators discover something new we can overuse it and in doing so take away the power of the tool and overwhelm ourselves in the classroom.

As you would understand current research on the Six Shifts in Teaching and Learning recognises there are key shifts (clicks) in student learning are directly influenced by the curriculum. These shifts are vital for teaching and need to be transparent to all stakeholders. This is where my thinking began.

We know a strong focus on improving instruction has a direct impact upon student achievement. Yes!

Professional development and quality teaching and learning will lift whole school data at all levels and individual student achievement. Yes!

Reflective teacher practices include the need for me to be aware of weaknesses in my teaching and I need to reflect and work with others to target specific areas which will improve instruction. Yes!

My reflective practices have made me aware of my current practice and areas for improvement. I know what I don’t know! Therefore, I need to plan opportunities to gain understanding of specific best practices and the ‘clicks’ which drive are ‘for learning’ and ‘as learning’. We know that teachers who intervene at the level of the individual student and develop processes and structures to enhance learning opportunities will improve student learning. Yes!

Best practice:

  1. builds knowledge through content
  2. will be grounded in evidence
  3. provides regular practice
  4. will focus where the Standards focus
  5. has coherence
  6. has rigor

Having said all this are continuums:-

  • for learning – providing feedback to inform the next stage of learning?
  • of learning – providing information about what students have learnt?
  • as learning – providing opportunities to support future learning?

How can I improve the continuums I am using so their use has a direct and improved impact on student learning? 

Cheers Nina

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