Sunday, 25 March 2018

Getting to know my students

In the past few weeks I have been gathering evidence about my students and it has been an interesting task for me.
My class of 21 consists of year 6,7 and 8.
While my key target group are all Year 8.
The year like most when the year starts, was very quiet.  My questions met with silence  on most occasions.
Thank goodness this has changed.
In gathering evidence, I have observed students with the purpose of noticing their learning behaviours and responses with each other when engaged in learning and in social interactions.

Characteristics of target students:

  • English is their second language
  • All but one began their primary schooling at our school.
  • All speak a mix of their mother tongue at home and english
  • Two of them are the eldest child in their family
  • All are year 8.
  • The all had reading recovery in the junior school.
  • Four are female, two are male.
  • They were all in my class last year.
  • Engagement levels are inconsistent and this level is lower in the male students.
  • All but one of the students have been together in class as they progressed in year levels
  • They have all had additional support for literacy and numeracy across year levels
  • Five students are Tonga and the other is Samoan.
  • For the two male members and one female attendance has a concern.
  • While making growth with reading comprehension, it is often a seesaw pattern.
  • Reading outside of school is minimal
Active involvement and responsiveness to each other and the levels of their responses can be single word responses, but can include asking questions and giving a brief opinion.  I have noticed that when meeting a word that they are unfamiliar with, they may read the word but look for no connection in what they have read to understand that/those words.

When this is brought to their attention, by myself, little to no  reaction is given.
Another noticing that was later confirmed was that the number of times these students return to the text, not only to find specific information, but to actually read it again and again.  I assumed this action was a desire to understand what they had read.

In preparation for reporting to parents, running records when completed. - letting the students read independently and also allowing them to view questions targeting comprehension, before getting the students' to read the passages to me out loud. I further noticed that the body language of students during this process changed and focus was on ensuring the text was read correctly... and returning to re read when understanding was questioned was necessary as the purpose i.e. expressing understanding was a secondary challenge.

Just as I was noticing,  believe that the students themselves in looking for feedback about their reading, they were looking and listening to my responses to gauge how I was thinking about their actions and responses.  Students were able to withdraw information but needed my response to support their application to make connections and infer.

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