School Name: Departure Bay Eco Elementary School
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members:Tanya Cairns: firstname.lastname@example.org, Liz McCaw: email@example.com, Annette Noble: firstname.lastname@example.org, Margie Radigan: MRadigan@sd68.bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Social and emotional learning, Transitions
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Through flexible literacy programs in the classroom and more collaboration between colleagues, how can we increase students’ literacy achievement and engagement?
Scanning: When using the four key questions as part of our scanning process we noticed that the students were unable to identify “where to next.” We found that knowing and understanding what students need to do and being able to articulate from a young age is very powerful and motivating. We are most excited about seeing the growth in the children’s ability to reflect and plan their own learning.
Focus: We were focusing on supporting our two school goals ( Supporting Literacy Growth and Supporting Resiliency). We were hoping to see students become empowered and take ownership of their learning. To be able to make connections during the use of our new learning in the classrooms and that automaticity will be observed. We believe that the students will benefit from our collaboration and experience a learning framework that spans more than one year and pariticipate in programs which reflective learning is embedded in their programs.
Hunch: We feel that because of challenging behaviours, passive learning and disengaged learners, teachers in the past tried many different programs and lacked the continuity across the Primary Grades. As a school we also lacked resources to be able to fully establish a shared, collaborative approach across all levels.
New Professional Learning: The following is a list of the new areas of Professional Learning that we explored together. We found these main resources to be the most helpful: Spirit of Alliance animals- embedded in daily program, Daily 5 & Cafe, Purposeful Play, Lucy Calkins for writing and the Successful Learner Traits. We also spent time to pull all our school’s levelled books together into a common shared space and created a School Levelled book library (including listening Center resources) for all classes.
Taking Action: We worked collaboratively to implement the Daily 5 (and Cafe) in our classrooms supporting each other by visiting each others rooms, mentoring, sharing resources and meeting regularly to discuss the project and share formative assessment. Our Student Support Teacher and Administrator supported the Daily 5/Reading Framework by doing push-in’s during the literacy blocks and organizing a school wide buddy reading and literacy program which took place 3 times a week. They trained older buddy readers to increase effectiveness with the younger children. By shifting to flexible learning we offered a completely different literacy experience for the studetns where they have ownership of thier literacy experience and a deeper understanding of what they are doing well, where to go next and how to get there.
Checking: Yes we saw many changes as a result of this inquiry. Students are very empowered and have taken ownership of their learning. They are making connections during the use of our new learning in the classrooms. Automaticity is being observed in many cases.
We used the following as both a baseline and follow-up for evidence: NLPS, Observations, Prior/during/After Assessments, Video of individual students answering Self Reflection questions, Photos, Conferencing and Self Assessments. Our learners’ are now able to better answer where they are going, how they are doing and where they are going next in their learning. They also feel more connected to adults in the building.
Reflections/Advice: Through flexible literacy programs and strong collaboration amongst colleagues, student success increases, there is more engagement and ownership of their learning. There is more interconnectedness amongst teachers and classrooms which will build a strong, sequential foundation for learning as students move through the different grade levels. To continue using the new learning for the next school year and develop the skill sets even further with the students who were successful with it this year. We would also like to start earlier in the school year. Advice to any other school with this similar interest would be to take the time to collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!!!