Thursday, 16 November 2017

Bursting Bubbles

Image result for bursting bubbles
What happened for the learners?
The learners have all really enjoyed practicing their thinking skills and especially using the game of awesome to structure and motivate them to write. Two students have made a shift of 2 levels of the developmental writing scale and two students have made a shift of 1 level and one students has remained the same. I think these a great results as we have not moved backwards or regressed at all.

What evidence do I have for this?
This evidence has been gathered by marking a writing sample against the developmental writing scale that we use here at Sommerville. There base levels was taken in Term 2 and we reassessed at the end of Term 3. I have shared these results on earlier posts.

What did I do to make this happen?
I have introduced thinkers keys as much as possible and allowed the students to find out what they like and are interested in. Students like the idea of brainstorming and especially categorising their ideas which helps organise their thoughts to write confidently. Using the game of awesome removed  a lot of negative and fixed mind frames around writing not wanting to write or sit down at a table even though they possess the skills to write. This inspired them and was something they looked forward to and was more enjoyable than writing personal accounts of trips.

Wondering's about what next?
After talking with some of my colleagues I think I haven't really used thinkers keys as well as could have and have used The Game of Awesome as an activity which isn't really what my focus and inquiry was directed at. It has however been very beneficial at engaging my learners and building confidence in writing. Next for me will be teaching through the thinking keys implicitly and also looking in to new assessment methods for my writers to see if can see really shift in certain parts of writing.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Research Writing Assessments

Over the weekend I have been chatting with a friend who was talking about asTTle writing tests and rubrics and also how it is broken down. I think if I can unpack this for my students I will be able to really focus on improving certain parts of my students writing and maybe my using a mainstream approach I will be able to get some ideas from others teachers in my CoL. My new thinking is now around looking at what my students are really struggling with and also what they enjoy. If we can work on this deficit model hopefully I will be able to see some shift on this marking rubric. I am using looking at Ideas, Structure and Language, Organisation, Vocabulary, Sentence structure, Punctuation, and Spelling. I have been looking at Clevedon Schools Rubric which has given lots of ideas of what I can do with my students to improve.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

How will I implement?

What I have tried to do is set up a template that is easy for students to use. With this sheet they can write down words or at least try to that have a link or something in common with the topic. This allows them to be creative as they like, some of the links they are able to come up with are very clever. Some issues I think that will happen is that they will be intimidated by the how many letters they are so I think i will try and give them a set time limit and they can do as much as possible. The important part will be around how they link what they think.
Here I have created a sheet around expanding their thinking skills and also problem solving. This sheet can be used in pairs or individually. It also lends itself to the prediction key what do you think could happen. This key really focuses on prior knowledge of what to do if something unexpected happens. A skills that is so important with my age group of students in the community.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Thinkers Keys for the term

The three thinkers I will be trying this term are The Alphabet, The prediction and the What if. I will be using these approaches in small section of the lessons and hopefully by the end of the term will be able to see some students using them on there own.

Image result for thinkers keys the alphabet

We will choose an object or general category of objects which feature in the area of study and compile a list of words from A-Z which have some relevance to the objects or pictures. Then we will try to expand some ideas which link with each of the chosen words.

Image result for thinkers keys the prediction

We will ask the students for a series of predictions in regard to a particular situation, product or set of circumstances. "What do you think happen if?" "What do you think they will do, say look like?"

Image result for thinkers key what if

Here we can ask virtually any What if question. They can be either serious or frivolous. We will try to tap in to the students' knowledge base and generate loads of innovative and creative ideas.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Review of the first term

thinking capAfter our first assessment to check how my select students had achieved I was able to sit down with Donna our Head of Literacy and unpack these results. We came to the conclusion that the method of my classes was actually in fact more activity based and students were highly motivated by the game rather than showing or developing good thinking skills. What I need to do now is concentrate purely on developing thinking skills. I will continue to use different keys which have been developed by Tony Ryan and implement these keys across different areas we cover each day. By doing this I hope to achieve better results and it will strongly based on the development of thinking skills through the use of the keys.
I will continue to keep Mathew in the group and hope he starts turning up to school.
I will also try to keep the writing samples as independent as possible with no other help or support from teachers or aides. We will no longer use "The Game of Awesome" but rather keep to our own lessons and introduce different thinkers keys to trial.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The marks are in....

After receiving all the work samples from my select students I was able to use the developmental writing scale to grade the students and check to see if my use of some of Tony Ryan's thinking keys and the use of "The Game of Awesome" have improved the writing of the students.

Ben has made an increase of 2 levels. He was at level 9 and is now at level 11. As you can see from his work sample he is able to write 3 or more sentence (coherent but limited cohesive)

Matt has not made any progress and his work is still at the same level. He has had a high amount of absenteeism which has meant he has missed a lot of lessons. He stays at level 8 and is able to write partial sentences of three or more words independently. This is in contrast to the piece of writing you see here. He has used the game cards and also asked for a lot of support from teacher aides to complete the task.

Sam has shifted 2 levels from 9 to 11. As you can see from his sample he is able to write 3 or more related sentences (coherent and limited cohesive)

Jess has made a 1 level shift from 10 - 11. She is able to write at least 3 sentences that are related (coherent and limited cohesive) It would of almost shifted to 12 however the prose needed to be sentences that could not be re-ordered without changing meaning. As you can see all these sentences are able to be re-ordered without it losing any of its meaning.

Denise has continued to stay at the same at level 10. She has written 3 sentences that are neither coherent or cohesive. Even though this is a good piece of writing in the pre-test this student scored extremely well so to make any progress on this would of been very difficult. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Individual writing assessment

I was caught in two minds here whether to just give the students an open forum to write what they want or to scaffold their writing by using the resources we have become accustomed to. I went with the latter. Students had 30 minutes to use any cards the liked, use the brainstorm map provided, and write their own story. 

These were the results,