Tag Archives: International Baccalaureate

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 IB-PYP: Futures Planning & Learning

World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum 2014 -Skills needed in the 21st Century The World Economic Forum 2014 Skills needed in the 21st Century Video 1: What will learning look like in 2028?

video 2: How do we plan for 10, 20 or 30 years time?

These videos are worth viewing. As a trained IB teacher having extensive experience working in an IB-PYP school, I believe the IB program provides the education our students need now and will need in the future.

Video 1: Why 2028? Students at my previous school are already partaking in many of these initiatives now!

The World Economic Forum 2014 -Skills needed in the 21st Century – developed this diagram outlining the skills students will need for future employment.

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Link: World Economic Forum

What do you think?

Tomorrow is the first day of school for students in Victoria, Australia. Some young learners will be starting school as will many new teachers. Having taught all primary levels and later specialising in younger learners I have a few comments to make.

From the moment young learners walk through the school gates they are making judgements about others and themselves as learners. Its natural for students to compare themselves with each other. We’d like to think they don’t but they do.

This is where we teachers and parents can have an enormous influence. It may seem too early but it’s essential to get the message across to our students that we all have different learning needs.

The Learner Cycle used at my previous school by all teachers and learners is personalised in classrooms to include:

What do I want/need to learn?

How  best will we/I learn?

How will I/ we know what we have learned?

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Personalising learning for each student is one way of avoiding learners comparing themselves. Planning learning goals is crucial and I’ll expand on this in another post.

The last point I would like to make is: 

The young learners starting their Foundation year already know a lot about learning. Our role as teachers is to help our learners make connections from what they already know to new learning. I’ve posted Piaget on Piaget and its worth looking at!

Cheers Nina

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Remembrance Day 2015: Weary Dunlop and the IB Learner Profile and attitudes.

Firstly, 2015 was a busy year so my posting was not as frequent as I would have liked. This didn’t stop me writing and recording my learning and my students’ learning. Many of my posts will be uploaded over the following weeks and cover a number of topics. My learners are 6,7 and 8 year’s old.

I’ve also taken a huge step and am no longer working in the Victorian state school system. Moving to inner Melbourne, Victoria in 2015 has meant the transit time to my previous school was unworkable long term. I will state that I was incredibly fortunate to work in an amazing school. However, I am equally excited to embrace new challenges in 2016, whatever they end up being!

Remembrance Day 2015 published on Australia Day 2016 to recognise a great Australian.

Each year our program includes the recognition of Remembrance Day. I start hunting for special picture story books appropriate to my students that will be used as launches for written responses. The books or poems chosen need to be displayed in the classroom for at least two weeks prior to being planned into the classroom program and read often. This enables young learners to develop a familiarity with the text, ask questions at home and collect further information if they choose.

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Providing an opportunity for young children to express themselves in many ways is crucial. My students were asked to create a portrait of Weary after listening to the text. We decided to limit the colors to show our feelings about this time of Weary’s life and use the illustrator’s front cover for inspiration.

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When reading their writing I was looking for links to the IB – Learner profile, attitudes and the traits of successful people. Although, I had not asked my students to make these links; I was hoping that they would. The Learner Profile and attitudes are naturally embedded into our daily discussions.

I’ve selected some random examples of my students work. Some learners have added their own elaborations to Weary’s experiences. You will notice that many of my students are using paragraphs without prompting. They also underline their spelling errors as they write and will make corrections after writing. My students know about paragraphs through an inquiry. They looked at paragraphs in books and developed their own criteria to assist them and others to use paragraphs. Some students are still experimenting with their use but are able to discuss where they could use them during a writing conference.

These young learners were also asked to think of a different heading for their response.

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Cheers Nina

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Successful people have certain behaviours: The IB Learner profile and its conection to the traits of a successful people. Year 1 and 2 students explore and respond!

Recently I was introduced to the traits of successful people compared to the traits of unsuccessful people. Having reviewed the traits myself, I decided to introduce this document to my students. My students are in Year 1 and 2 in Australia and very capable of looking at and discussing this document. My school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. The IB introduces students to the Learner Profile so my students already have an understanding of what being a successful learner and person encompasses. We are now unpacking the successful traits and connecting them to the IB Learner Profile and attitudes.

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Link: http://www.workingmomsonly.com/2011/07/25/eliminate-the-jealousy-factor-and-success-will-follow/

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My students discussed the traits and were given one trait to respond to and make connections to their life.

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This is what I call thinker’s writing. The learners aren’t using a set genre and have to structure their own response. Many made connections to their own life. These are examples of first drafts written independently by my students.

Cheers Nina

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Aunty Arty and the Disquieting Muses Written by Rowena Wiseman, illustrated by Narelda Joy

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Rowena Wiseman has a student in my class. How lucky am I? Rowena is a published writer and is a shared organizer  of our Writer in Residence program, even though this maybe new news for her. I have many ideas for our program this year and one is to really target our aspiring writers in years 5 and 6. Rowena is excited to share that her first Aunty Arty story is finally out in the world.

Jet Black Publishing is a new children’s ebook publisher based in Melbourne. Their mission is to publish inspirational and creative stories for children and young adults and they are donating 20% of the sales to children’s literacy charities, such as the Australian Children’s Literacy & Numeracy Foundation.

Who is Jet Black Publishing?

Jet Black Publishing is developing a range of teacher resources to support the series e.g. write a book review, text structure and Narrative writing plan, colouring sheets and printable classroom posters featuring an inspirational quotes from famous artists.

If you would like to know more, there is a 10-minute YouTube video where Rowena and illustrator Narelda Joy talk about how they created Aunty Arty. Discover where ideas for a book come from and how an illustrator creates rough drawings and turns them into finished artwork by clicking this link.  https://www.youtube.com/user/AuntyArty

MP News Jan 2015 (1) This is an article from the Mornington Peninsula News about Rowena.

Book information: Aunty Arty and the Disquieting Muses written by Rowena Wiseman and illustrated by Narelda Joy $11 Available exclusively as an ebook

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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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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IB-PYP: How the World Works – 6,7&8 year olds in an Australian Primary School

Our Inquiry into…

How the World Works

Central Idea: All living things go through a process of change.
Concepts: cycles, transformations, offspring
Communication Skills: speaking, reading, presenting
Self- Management Skills: organisation, safety
Thinking Skills: acquisition of knowledge, comprehension
Social Skills: co-operation
Attitudes: curiosity, enthusiasm
Learner Profile Attributes: knowledgeable, inquirers

As part of our inquiry into living things and change we visited the Melbourne Zoo for our provocation. The children looked at various animals, their external features and offspring. The conversations centred on unpacking the central idea and their writing displayed the connections they are making to the central idea and themselves.

The children were very curious about the external features of various animals. They selected a photo of an animal they had observed at the zoo and drew it, carefully making their picture as authentic as they could. Added to this was a writing activity where they wrote dot points about their animal using vocabulary they had learnt.

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Just beautiful!

Cheers Nina

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