I have to say that being new to my school this year and completely new to the teaching as inquiry process I found it very stressful and time consuming to get my head around what it all entailed. At times I did not have a clue to what I needed to do! I definitely know that there will be some changes I will be making next year to make this a more streamlined part of my everyday classroom.
Inquiry and Appraisal Reflection
Key Areas of GrowthI see in myself growth in the following areas of my writing development.
- A clearer idea for planning required to meet the needs of ESOL children & how to support/ follow up on the ESOL teacher’s lessons
- More specific planning for writing groups (even in the senior classes)
- Planning to incorporate other writing activities on a task board rotation system ------> it doesn’t always need to be writing in books to be incorporated into my writing programme
- The need for variety in topics when writing, the same genre for a whole planning period gets boring quickly!
- Using lots of examples of “good writing” helps children understand the framework for a genre or topic
- Linking reading and writing “topics” and selecting hot topics ignites student interest for example: Explanations of Halloween -reading and learning about where Halloween originated from, then using this reading to write an explanation about it
- Incorporating where possible the use of e-learning keeps students engaged - I would like to investigate the possibility of sharing our writing on a class blog next year
- Using relevant Learning Intentions and Success Criteria - creating these with the group
Effectiveness of InquiryI felt that the inquiry process was not very effective for all of my target students. For various reasons some of my Inquiry students have not made a lot of progress over the year.
Reasons for this I think are; one of the students in particular have had a lot of absences throughout the year and this has made a big impact on his learning and progress. The same student was also picked up for ESOL mid way through the year which meant that instead of four days in the classroom for written language he was now only there for two, sometimes only one if he was absent. These reasons have hindered progress for this child over the year.
Having inquiry students working in different groups also made the process less effective, in that it made it a lot more difficult to see these students on the regular (and often) basis required for the inquiry. Because I was not clear on what the inquiry was all about, (being new to the school and having never been involved in a teaching as inquiry process before) I do not think that the way the students were chosen (or grouped) was the most effective way to run the inquiry in a busy, large classroom.
However, because all of my inquiry students were in different groups I think this was beneficial to the other students, as they were a part of the lessons I had planned to target the needs of the inquiry students.
Works in ProgressSome things I am still working on are;
- Supporting ESOL students with high needs without them becoming completely dependent on having support in the classroom all of the time
- Finding more relevant writing activities for my task board rotation - keeping these interesting
- Keeping writing topics relevant and engaging so that students do not become bored of genre
- Keeping learning intentions and success criteria relevant and specific to the needs of each group
- Using assessment data more to help plan and implement a writing programme that caters to the needs of the class
- Incorporating more generic skills and language activities to improve both areas
Next Steps 2013Some steps I have identified for next year will be;
- Use end of 2012/beginning of 2013 writing data to identify needs, possible groupings, specific learning intentions (mostly for generic skills needs)
- Use this data to also find activities for my writing and possibly reading task board that will target specific gaps students have (language and generic skills activities)
- Use e-learning to give writing authentic audience and context
- Set up a class blog so that we can share our writing to an authentic audience
- Use other class blogs to share examples of good writing by other students, with the class
- Make use of the rich and authentic writing activities that are available through the use of e-learning and my personal learning network (PLN) for example; storybird, edmodo, writer’s club, writing prompts