School Name: Nakusp Elementary Public School
School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes
Inquiry Team Members:Jenna Arnold: Jenna.Arnold@sd10.bc.ca
Robin Barrow: Robin.Barrow@sd10.bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: Jenna.Arnold@sd10.bc.ca
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
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, Matahematics / Numeracy, Science
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Experiential learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Inquiry-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, STEM / STEAM, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To increase students’ access, engagement, and output during Daily 5 literacy development through universal design for learning. To improve students’ capacity to use and integrate technology in their literacy development. To support student reflection and improve students’ capacity to self-assess using the core competencies.
Scanning: During conferencing, the four questions lead the discussion around student’s abilities as readers and writers and how they view themselves. At a primary age, most young students can recognize an adult in the school or at home that believe they will have success in life. For those students that struggle with reading and writing output, even at a young age, they are noticing their lack of progress compared to their peers. Students were able to work with their peers and construct their learning through active exploration having a variety of choices and levels in which they can practice and learn certain skills they were lacking. Students enjoy working together in smaller groups on activities that further their learning. They play games (from bins developed by teacher(s)) with each other targeted towards their areas of weakness and they feel very happy when they develop a missing skill through practice and extending their knowledge to their reading and writing abilities. As always, a focus on growth mindset is pivotal to student success and the First People’s Principles of Learning is also weaved into our classroom cultures, so that students learn that school contributes to their own well-being and that they have a chance to explore and be responsible for their own actions and learning, and that they can be and show patience as they learn new skills.
Focus: We noticed that during class observations, and one-to-one conferencing, the students were communicating that they had ideas, but found it difficult to write it on paper. We were finding that their ideas were much more, when orally communicating, and when it came time to communicating it on paper, they were short, brief sentences, lacking detail.
Hunch: Our hunch from various practices at our school is that many children that are challenged by written output are provided the accommodation of scribing their ideas down. We would like to see this accommodation used as a support or a means to an end, “last resort.” We would like to see other ways to encourage our student’s growth mindset and independence of communicating their thoughts on paper and or to an audience. Seeking other ways to communicate our student’s writing will provide them a sense of ownership and accomplishment with their learning.
New Professional Learning: We are linked up with SET BC, as a means to collaborate and learn with technology in our classroom. They loaned us 10 i-Pads, with various apps, to enhance our student’s learning in the classroom. Many apps have been added to increase their engagement with reading, writing and math. We had the pleasure of having Kamelia Dousti, a SET-BC consultant attend/observe our classroom for two visits. She provided on-going support through email and visits to support any needs that teachers had along with co-planning with our teachers! Our inquiry project was documented and celebrated through Fresh Grade and Adobe Spark Video.
Taking Action: One strategy to make learning accessible for learners was to create a “Log-in Buddy Stick,” a popsicle stick for each student with their login information on it. This saved logging on time for teachers and students, as they could independently do this! They took charge of their own learning and worked on their daily learning. Numbering the i-pads, and creating groups of students was effective, as this prevented mix-ups with saved learning on each i-pad and could be easily accessed later. Another great strategy, was before any new app was introduced, having the children play/explore for a couple of sessions was great for hands-on learners! They took risks and when it came time to their challenges, they were helping to problem solve together.
Checking: The apps that were chosen; Khan Academy, Get-Epic, Boom Cards, Book Creator, etc were apps where the teacher could reflect and note their progress and learning. Each app saved and logged their activity. Mini lessons were reflected on weekly, and future Daily 5 centers were planned accordingly for the following week. Much of learning ended up being utilized across the curriculum and even used the i-pads for math. Apps such as; Math Prodigy and Kahoot were enjoyed and again, teachers could see activity and team building skills occurring.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that providing access to technology and focusing on universal design, there is so many learning opportunities for our primary learners! Children who found writing and reading, were attempting and being engaged with the classroom. Many of their writing pieces this year were created on i-pads. Their ideas, and their voice were heard and shared to many audiences! They were able to see themselves as learners! We hope to continue to use the i-pads as Daily 5 center next year in math and literacy. Our advice to other schools is to be brave, be bold and try to learn along with your young primary learners. When mistakes are made, we are learning together and the growth that happens in their confidence and learning is invaluable for the students in years to come!