Saturday, 11 November 2017

Results are in...

So what effect did teaching reading through multimodal texts have? Check it out:

My biggest wondering is: how much did using multimodal texts actually influence the data? 

I used a multi-pronged strategy which included building relationships at home, increasing 1:1 reading time through TA and parent help, using our school librarian to 'advertise' books to the learners, regularly visiting the school library, using the pizza challenge competition to increase home reading, having the children create multimodal responses to texts in meaningful ways, as well as crafting specific lessons using multimodal texts aimed to maximise engagement and extended discussion.
I am left wondering how much of an influence multimodal texts had, amongst all this! I suspect it had a big influence in engaging the learners and helping them make connections and use specific strategies for inferencing and supporting their ideas.

Another wondering I have is how could I have pushed those learners who were below standard to achieve at standard? Despite all the methods used above, 2 learners stayed below standard (although they did make 12 months progress) and one learner is still well below standard. These children all have processing difficulties. How might I have tailored the learning to get greater shift here?

Overall, I am pleased with the journey the learners and I have taken. It is gratifying to see reading progress being made, and even more so to see these learners now wanting to read for pleasure,  knowing what books spin their wheels and being intrinsically motivated to read more. Ka mau te wehi!

Friday, 13 October 2017

New Term, New Tack!

This term my co-teaching buddy Mel and I are trying out a series of critical literacy lessons. This came from being inspired by a colleague during a PL session. 

We plan to incorporate lots of role play and drama along the way to boost the children's speaking and listening skills. 

This will hopefully be a real integration of using multimodal texts to support and extending writing. 

Our first lesson... aiming for that sweet spot!

Friday, 29 September 2017


This term my I had the privilege of co-teaching with a talented colleague, Mel Prasad. We both teach similar cohorts in literacy and it worked really well to have someone to bounce ideas off. This doubled our enthusiasm and halved our preparation time. Combining both groups also meant we were able to tailor the learning in a different way, as one of us could provide more support to certain groups, while the other teacher taught at a different pace for the rest of the learners. 

We hooked this kids in to creating their own super heroes and super villains, and this culminated in them creating their own plays. This also tied in to our school production, in terms of script writing and acting. We created sock puppets to act out the characters of villain or hero. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Sharing Practice

This week we shared our teaching inquiries with our colleagues. Really amazing to hear about all that is happening in teachers' practice at Stonefields School!

A next step for me is co-teaching with my colleague Mel Prasad. We have similar literacy groups with similar needs and have been inspired to pursue teaching a deeper level of thinking through using a critical literacy approach. Watch this space!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Creating a multimodal lesson to enable making connections

This week I am trying to push these learners further into making meaning. 

My recent gap analysis of my focus group learners showed we need to work on comparing and connecting. I did this using Schooltalk.

I have crafted a workshop using 4 different texts, one of which is a chapter book. Children will explain the connections they make using the digital tool Coggle.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Focus Group Data

I have 5 boys who I have been targeting to make 18 months shift in 12. Here is their mid-year data... not as dismal as I had thought, but then again lots of room for improvement!

This equates to 2 boys already making 12 months progress, and 3 boys making 6 months progress in 6 months. 

Mid year data

The first set of data here at is my whole literacy group data, who have received teaching through multimodal texts.

This group consists of 20 learners comprised of 15 boys and 5 girls. From the graph below, you can see all boys have made progress, 4 boys making 12 months and 11 boys making 6 months. The girls have mixed results, for various reasons.

It is gratifying to see the shift in the boys progress; not as much as I was hoping for, especially for the learners who started the year at below or well below. My colleagues have given me more strategies to try and raise achievement even further using multimodal texts.... watch this space!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Next Steps: Inspiration from the Manaiakalani CoL

One of my colleagues in Manaiakalani is Angela Moala, a Year 4 teacher at Point England School. She is putting together a multimodal text database as part of her MIT-Spark Innovation, and this is a tremendously valuable resource for multimodal texts. The link to the doc is accessible to Manaiakalani CoL and outreach schools.

As we are doing similar inquiries, it has been great to compare Angela's journey with mine. Reflecting on this, a next step for me is to make sure I systematically include tension/challenge texts and student selected texts as part of the children's reading journey in the lesson progression.

Graphic courtesy of Dr. Rebecca Jesson, Auckland University.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Science a Winner

For the last 2 weeks, I have been taking a different tack, using shorter texts which interlink. The strong science component has really hooked the boys in as there is a chance to do practical work as well. 
We have been making connections across texts, and discussing different text types.

Lesson example: making connections across texts.
This has proved for some rich discussion paired with the multimodal media. Overall, the boys enjoyed this more than the longer chapter book we used (even though that was about pirates and rats!).

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Responding in Multimodal ways

Thinking about increasing engagement and how powerful student voice is.... 
being inspired by old podcasts from Korero Point England...
experimenting with digital tools...

Or Chatterpix and link to Aurasma

Our next step in learning through multimodal means... creating multimodal response... sharing to an audience!

Reflect, Review... Try!

Thinking about maximum engagement in order to spark momentum with this group of readers... They seemed to struggle with a chapter book (10 chapters!) Even though we bolstered the learning with multi-modal experiences at certain points. Perhaps we scale back to really short chapter books for a time? For example, this type of text by Joy Cowley.

We are starting the hell pizza reading challenge this week as well - with a twist. The children will have to read at least 4 different genres of books, and create 5 book reviews. At least 3 of these book reviews will be digital. Let's link to Aurasma and the children can make our classroom walls come to life with their voice and opinions. 

Tapping into Get Epic is another resource I am trialling. At the moment the learners are reading texts on here purely for fun but I have not yet chosen a text from here to delve deeper in reading lessons. The advantage here is that the books can be 'read to me' and contain quizzes and videos, which add to the multi-modal experience and increase engagement.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Re-designing the learning

Checking and re-thinking... leading to redesigning

One of my hunches was that the learners had limited mileage, along with lack of engagement in texts. Our library facilitator, Anna Malan, has been instrumental in adding new and exciting texts to the collection at our school. For the first time, one of my learners actually sit and read of his own volition, totally engaged in a Minecraft Zombie book.

Being inspired by listening to some Korero Point England Blog posts, the learners are excited to create similar book reviews. Not only will they learn through multimodal texts, but they will create and share their learning through multi-modal means as well. They will eventually choose their own book to read and review, but first they needed the process of reading, summarising, evaluating, justifying, recording and sharing their book review.

Here, I have hit a road block. While the text we are reading is the right level, my hunch is the children are not used to sustained periods of reading and retaining events in the text.

What followed yesterday was a very frustrating lesson on reviewing what had happened in the chapters 1 and 2 of Rat Island (Stu Duval). Frustrating for me because I had planned to teach how to evaluate the text so far in order to scaffold their end in mind (book review).
Instead, we had to go back to basics - thinking about the text and making connections between events. 

After checking and scanning, now I need to refocus - I need to make sure I re-design their learning experiences in order that I am giving them enough time to read and evaluate. Perhaps before our reading workshops the children have to re-read the previous chapter to remind themselves of what is happening. Another scaffold may be 20 mins designated purely to reading in the lesson in order to build that mileage and dosage time of sustained reading.

Critical need for Critical Literacy

Thinking about weaving the ideas contained in this article into my literacy lessons with the view to encourage deeper questioning and making text-self text-world connections. Thinking about whether the news is trustworthy does provide scope for teaching in multi-modal means, as well as an opportunity to think deeply and critically.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Thinking about how creativity empowers learning

Great day at the Manaiakalani Digital Immersion day today. I worked with my talented Stonefields colleagues to think about how creativity empowers learning. 

Thanks to Fiona Grant for provoking our thinking and supporting us!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Delving Deeper

I came across this reading, which is somewhat tangential, but it prompted some thoughts for me about crossing boundaries in the learning process. We refer to this as getting out of 'The Pit' in our School. 

One of my takeaways is:

'In the literature about boundary crossing and boundary objects, Akkerman and Bakker (2011) discern four learning mechanisms, one of them being transformation. 

Transformation involves confrontation and continuous work which leads to profound changes in practices where in-between, or boundary, practices may be created. They see hybridization, where “ingredients from different contexts are combined into something new and unfamiliar”, as one of the processes involved in transformation. When practices cross boundaries and engage in a creative process, something hybrid emerges.'  - Godhe and Lindstrom 2014.

Creating multimodal texts could be the creative process where the boundary is crossed, meaning engagement spills over into print-based texts as well.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Reflection on Term 1

Term 1 was hard. In terms of shifting the students as much as I would like, we had time constraints and timetable interruptions which took away from time I would have spent teaching. Some of these things included morning swimming sessions from week 5-8. Due to the nature of my hub and the makeup of my literacy group (year 4, 5, 6) this was certainly not helpful, as each year group had different swim times on different weeks.
Our recent environmental focus also interrupted the timetable considerably in the past 3 weeks, which has meant that my literacy group has had 2 less sessions per week than normal. 

As frustrating as this was, these timetable interruptions were unavoidable, so I am looking forward to Term 2, spending some quality time with my reading groups, really digging deep and getting into a learning journey that is uninterrupted.

Term 2 be like:

One of my hunches was to do with reading mileage. The learners in my group have not had a huge amount of mileage, and so one of my objectives is to get them to read more. Using ReadTheory and Get Epic was great - they were using this in class and at home sometimes. I found that the students were really engaged with this, but I also know a lot of learners still do not read regularly at home. 
This is something that I need to help the group with next term - providing space and opportunities for them to practising reading a wide variety of texts, whether that be online or a physical book. Running a weekly competition might be a way forward here... watch this space!

Multi modal texts - lesson example

This term we have been delving deeper using multimodal texts by doing lessons like this. It involves reading a text, watching a short video and navigating a webpage. 

Alongside this is teaching deeper concepts, such as this one about making connections. It is a lot of content to get through for the group of learners I am teaching, especially due to their need to be refocussed often in the lesson. 

Last week we thought about skimming and scanning and it was great to see the learners using this strategy in their latest reading test to answer comprehension questions. My hope is that they can remember these strategies throughout the year and beyond in order to make them better readers.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Planning for shift

A big part of my inquiry this year is accelerating progress. 

This means we are aiming for 18 months shift in 12. Which means I need to take it back, step by step, thinking about what are the big things these learners need to tackle to raise their achievement and understanding (and enjoyment of texts!). I am thinking about not back-filling in every gap, but looking at the bigger concepts the learners need.

GAP analysis: 
Making Meaning: Comprehension strategies and thinking critically

As you can see from the example images below, looking at individual achievement of comprehension strategies as mapped by SchoolTalk, there are many areas of thinking critically and comprehending texts which have not been 'hit' by these learners yet.

For me, the skills here link back to the basic idea of comprehending text, thinking about what is happening in the story and visualising it. So this is where my starting point will be: going back to basics but aiming for an age-appropriate level through multi-modal texts.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Maniakalani Learn, Create, Share

My initial hunches were:

I gathered student voice about reading based on my hunches. Here is what the data looked like:

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My Inquiry

Based on the Manaiakalani research in 2016, I have decided to inquire about the effect of multimodal text on boys reading. 

This year I am working in a hub of 79 learners and 3 teachers. I have a group of learners who need to accelerate their progress and I am keen to see how using multimodal texts works for them.