School Name: Chase River Elementary
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members: Darren Dickie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Losch: email@example.com
Maureen Arabsky: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Eyres: email@example.com
Stephanie Pickerell: stephanie.pickerell@sd68. bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning, Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can we accelerate the literacy learning in the early primary classrooms?
Scanning: Our team scanned what is happening for all our learners from their perspective, their families and their learning community. We utilized the four questions from Spirals of Inquiry in conjunction with NLPS screener data, classroom reviews, parent teacher conferences, professional learning community meetings, and student self-assessments during the scanning phase. In addition, we considered the seven learning principles from The Center for Educational Research and Innovation as a framework to better develop our understanding of the learning experiences our students are having. As a result, we discovered the need to establish students self-awareness and understanding around good fit texts that will enhance the five key components of literacy and their overall understanding of themselves as learners. We particularly found questions around meta-cognition and their learning aspirations helpful in guiding us.
Focus: Our team determined the focus for our inquiry by using the information from the scan. We are building on the strengths of our students and aspiring to gain further clarity on the challenges they are experiencing when picking good fit literature for themselves. We noticed that we needed to focus on engagement along with concepts of print, phonological awareness, decoding strategies, fluency and
Hunch: We have discussed the deeply held beliefs and assumptions we hold around our own practices at school that may be contributing to a need for change. One of our hunches is that students have a wide variety of interests and that we need to diversify our resources to better support them in choosing books that both interest them and that they are capable of using for independent reading. We also have a hunch that once students have a larger selection to choose from, their engagement in reading will increase, therefore, their reading achievement and personal awareness will increase.
New Professional Learning: We explored concepts around engagement as discussed in Jennifer Serravallo’s resource “Reading Strategies” and good fit books in both “CAFE” and “Daily 5” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. We learned about and implemented some systems that can assist the implementation of our programs such as: reading strategies, rotation organization, and home reading programs.
Taking Action: We took actions by putting Daily 5 rotations into place in our primary classes. In two particular classrooms, we did whole class focus mini-lessons, introduced individual book bins with “good fit” books, we made small strategy groups, started one-on-one conferencing and we introduced home reading with leveled yet high interest books that included a high frequency word program. To support all these changes, we had a minimum of 2 teachers in each of the class-rooms for five days a week for one hour a day for over a month until the classroom teachers took over the practices and the other adults continued to support.
Checking: We are extremely pleased with the results of the changes we implemented. We re-evaluated students NLPS screeners (assessing the five pillars of literacy) along with benchmark reading levels. During conferences we and benchmark testing we interviewed students about their engagement. All of the students made substantial gains in their reading enjoyment, confidence and reading levels.
Reflections/Advice: Reflecting on this learning, we wonder how can we set-up these systems for September, what resources we will need moving forward, and what we can each focus on to build our own capacity.