School Name: Marie Sharpe Elementary
School District: SD#27 Cariboo-Chilcotin
Inquiry Team Members: firstname.lastname@example.org, Marianne Okrainetz
email@example.com, Tracy Walton
firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian Davidson
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Mathematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Self-regulation
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How will targeted instruction (‘I can statements’, setting learning goals, small group work, etc.) increase students’ literacy and numeracy achievement?
Scanning: When looking at our literacy and numeracy data and our students’ ways of being (non risk-taking and overly dependent on support – “I can’t”), we recognized the need to support the development of our students’ literacy and numeracy in different ways than we’ve done in the past.
Focus: We wanted to develop confidence/independence in our students, leading to increased literacy and numeracy skills.
Hunch: Teachers and EAs try to solve problems and ‘help’ kids before kids work to solve problems themselves. Kids are not routinely encouraged to try or think first, and not consistently so.
New Professional Learning: We participated as a group in a District book study for Visible Learning (Hattie). We attended Peter Liljedahl’s workshops on ‘Thinking Classroom’ (vertical learning). We participated in a learning series with Leyton Schnellert on inclusive practices. We applied some of the techniques, routines, and practices we learned from these sessions into our daily work with students.
Taking Action: We created and used “I Can” statements in two classrooms – through gradual release model. We utilized small group instruction in literacy and numeracy lessons very intentionally. We used evidence of student learning to drive instructional decisions.
Checking: DART/EPRA and School-wide writes (literacy) and Island Numeracy Assessment/Vernon Screener (Gr 1):
Baseline – lots of tears, ‘I can’ts’, opting out/shutting down, seeking adult help (for answers).
Our Spring assessments: Students generally showed strong improvement in reading and numeracy assessments as compared to other years, despite more absences during second term (because of COVID). We noticed that while students were completing the Spring assessments, their attitudes, confidence, and independence improved significantly. Overall, students are more self-reliant and less dependent on adults for answers. Students are applying the structure/language/skills of independence in other areas of their lives.
Reflections/Advice: In all three of our classrooms we applied these strategies and structures more consciously in our reading instruction, but less so with our writing instruction; we noticed that student writing did not improve to the same extent as our reading results. This is leading us to decide to apply these strategies more holistically, across the curriculum. It was helpful for our learning to focus on one curriculum area, and now we see the benefits and want to apply it more broadly.
COVID notes: we had very poor attendance during 2nd term – as a result, several students who were here benefitted from more individual and small group instruction; students who were absent had learning/intentional teaching interrupted.
One structural outcome that has resulted from our school-wide professional learning opportunities this year is connected to the value teachers find in collaboration. There have been ample professional conversations, school-wide, related to our learning through different learning-focused projects offered by our District. Our principal has been able to work out a prep schedule (and job postings) that enables teachers to have a grade level partner to collaborate with during common preps.