Nakusp Elementary School SD#10 Arrow Lakes

I. General Information

School Name: Nakusp Elementary School

School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes

Inquiry Team Members: Andrea Volansky:
Michele Jackson:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Language Arts – Reading

Focus Addressed: Universal design for learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To create a learning framework to help build student success in written reading responses.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: Assessment for learning highlighted student difficulty in independently responding to texts in writing. Students struggled to maintain stamina when responding to multiple text choices and various levels of questioning. When given the option to scribe for students who were overwhelmed, they were able to give more complete answers orally than they would have been able to in written form. When students were asked what was hard for them they often did not understand what a summary was and how to approach it, especially with non-fiction text. Their responses indicated difficulty with identifying the main idea or theme of the text.

Focus: We selected this area because students had difficulty formulating written responses to text. We were hoping to build stamina through comprehension strategies and multiple opportunities to practice. We wanted to set up a literacy routine where students were exposed to a variety of comprehension practices and where they could demonstrate curiosity about text while self-selecting passages to read. The end goal was to increase student confidence in their reading ability, to boast interest and encourage deeper thinking.

Hunch: During the early years there were instructional interruptions due to COVID and we felt that students lost confidence in reading due to reduced practice and more screen time. This also resulted in limited exposure to text analysis.

New Professional Learning: The basis of our inquiry stemmed from the article, “Literary Analysis and Writing: An Integrated Instructional Routine by Patrick C. Manyak, Ann-Margaret Manyak. We also used the Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA) comprehension questions and rubric to inform instruction. Through colleague collaboration, we created a four-square graphic organizer for students to use when reading.

Taking Action: We selected a variety of texts with a common theme around immigration and presented students with artifacts and short excerpts from the books without seeing the cover or knowing the title. Students then selected their top 3 choices, teachers collaborated to put students within their top three book selections, and then students began reading orally in small reading groups. At the start of book club students co-created and signed a reading contract outlining reading expectations and goals to create a culture that encouraged growth as readers. Students used the aforementioned graphic organizer to record reading responses and guide oral discussions during lit circles. The four squares were titled as follows: Quotes (explaining why they chose it); Thoughts and Questions; Feelings (their own and/or that of the characters); Connections. In addition, graphic organizers were created for character development and setting. They were user friendly – responses were in note form to easily capture ideas during our after-reading.

Checking: Student engagement in reading increased as did their confidence. Using the simple graphic organizer across the curriculum positively impacted their ability to think deeper, and students used their notes to elaborate in their writing. The format of the graphic organizer could be applied to any text or media. As students answered their four questions, they reflected on their analysis of text and their new learning.

Reflections/Advice: As the students were given opportunities to choose formal texts (not graphic novels) to explore their thinking, their ability to dig deeper into their analysis of text was strengthened. Moving forward we want to create a rubric so students have a clear understanding of what is expected and teachers have a consistent and relevant tool for assessment. In addition, we would like to introduce the graphic organizers early in the school year so students can use this tool when writing the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA) in the fall.