School Name: Cilaire Elementary School
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members: Tanya Cairns: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kitty Kanhoffen: email@example.com
Robyn Grubb firstname.lastname@example.org, Carie Wood: Carie.Wood@sd68.bc.ca, Tracy White: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Implementing Reader‘s (Daily 5/Café) and Writer’s workshop structure into Primary classrooms to increase and support differentiated learning.
Scanning: Cilaire is one of 12 focus schools for Literacy within the District. One of the opportunities given to the school is a part time Literacy Coordinator who is supporting teachers from K-4. Using the four questions for both teachers and students we have established a network to help support each other learn and implement a reading and writing workshop structure for differentiated learning.
Focus: We benchmarked those students below grade level. We also had all students complete the NLPS reading assessment, create a writing sample as well as fill out a reading and writing survey. We looked at all of the data collected to inform our instruction and where we needed to go to next with our learners. We noticed there were key reading and writing strategies that need to be taught class wide, some in small groups and a few in a one to one setting.
Hunch: The range of both academic and social/emotional capabilities within a classroom are widening as the needs of our learners are changing. We are wanting to implement ways to teach literacy that targets all of our learners.
New Professional Learning: We chose to focus on learning and implementing the Daily 5 and Café during our Literacy block as well as trying out Writer’s Workshop. We then zoomed in on our learning to incorporate reading conferences as well as use the writer’s workshop format in our classes. The resources we used most were Daily 5/Cafe, Writer’s Workshop (Not So whimpy Teacher) and Jennifer Serravello. We also sent away student’s writing to be published into a hardcover classroom book. The authentic process made the students more excited to write for a purpose and to be proud to become published authors.
Taking Action: As a team we created a Professional Learning Group with all Primary teachers in our school (including the literacy coordinator) and we met several times through out the year to discuss our inquiry/spiral and adjust any plans the were needed. We also spent time looking through best practice teacher resources that we could purchase and utilize right away in our classrooms. Conferring, delving deep into Writer’s Workshop and publishing a classroom book had a major impact not only on us professionally but also in our classrooms. By creating a Professional Learning Group that encompassed not only those in our Inquiry, allowed us to have richer conversations and spark ideas into other classrooms as well.
Checking: Our data shows that students are much more engaged and happy with reading for enjoyment. Students love the one on one time with the teacher when conferencing together. Students depth of understanding how to write narratives through Writer’s Workshop was impressive. For reading our grade one students went from 76% below grade level to 38% in the Spring with 20% extending above grade level. In grade two, 26% went from below grade level to 10% in the Spring with 50% extending above grade level. In grade three, 7% went from below grade level to 3% in the Spring with 87% extending ABOVE grade level!!! With Writer’s workshop we saw students who were only writing a handful of sentences start to write multiple pages of writing. Self assessments were also a huge part of this journey when conferencing and going through the Writer’s Workshop. Differentiated learning was high using these practices in our classrooms.
Reflections/Advice: We have learned how invaluable conferencing with students on a daily basis is to inform not only our own teaching practices but for the students as well. Using Writer’s workshop has also allowed us to gain more confidence in teaching writing and to extract richer stories from students. Imbedding conferencing along with a more formal writing structure in the classroom, will continue to help students. With more teachers on board, there is the opportunity to further build capacity over the grade levels to develop amazing readers and writers. It has been a fantastic opportunity and journey!