What You Are Saying

I am writing a quick post to reflect on What You Are Saying from the Google Survey I posted in the FB group.

Like we all know, reflecting on what we are doing and getting feedback and feed-forward allows us to understand what is working and where the improvements need to be made.

Unfortunately, out of the many teachers who participated ACROSS the levels in Term 1, 2 & 3 this year only 15 teachers have gone onto the survey to share their feedback (it has been there all of Term 4). This is disappointing as it is the only way, as a team, we can really gauge what is working, where we need to make improvements, and how we can make the #NZreadaloud experience the best it can be for those teachers willing to step out of the ‘norm’ and try something different.

My concern is that when new teachers DO register and participate and their experience does not live up to what WE as a team know it can be, we need to know why this has happened. That is why the surveys are really vital.

Those of us on the team, myself (Year7 /8), the awesome Jemma Thorogood (Year 5 / 6) who leads this Year level from Tamatea Intermediate, the extraordinary Crystal Hewitt (Year 3 / 4) who is actively promoting #NZreadaloud wherever she can, the amazing Belinda Whyte (Year 1 / 2) who does this mahi on top of her work as a Resource Teacher of Literacy from her Levin school, and the ever-persevering Karen Wilson (Year 9 / 10) who continues to believe in #NZreadaloud for High School students and struggles to get others to do the same –  are totally and absolutely dedicated and committed to #NZreadaloud as a new (literacy) pedagogy. I put this in brackets because all the team know that ‘doing’ literacy this way is not only about literacy but about an integrated approach to all learning.

The 5 of us use (or have used when in a classroom)  #NZreadaloud in our classrooms over the last 3 (or 4 years for some of us) and have

watched reluctant readers learn to love stories

have watched learners understand language features and how they work and why authors use them because they are being exposed to them and taught about them IN CONTEXT

have seen our students writing improve HEAPS because they are being exposed to and taught text structure, great language use, conventions of text IN CONTEXT

have watched kids follow their own curiosities and wonderings and lead their own inquiries in the classroom

have watched as kids are so totally engaged in the stories being read that they ask us to keep reading and don’t want to wait for the next day

have seen the excitement of connecting to others outside the walls of our classrooms and learn alongside others around the country – whether that is via Edmodo, Twitter or through Google Hangouts – this includes the invaluable contributions from the many authors who give up their time to connect with the kids reading their books

have seen previously disengaged kids re-engage by using Sketchnoting as a way to follow along with a story

have listened and watched what a good reader does while reading – use of expression, pauses, tone, volume, and THINKING ALOUD

have watched how inclusive this pedagogy is – when everyone is involved together; kids get to listen to each others’ contributions, questions, and predictions and the thinking becomes visible to others which helps everyone learn how to interact with text – kids are teaching kids without even realising it

These are just skimming the surface of the learning which becomes visible during participation in #NZreadaloud.

I have digressed off the purpose of my post … the feedback and feed-forward!

Here it is with some of my own responses added underneath.

So word of mouth seems to be the way this kaupapa is spread. So we NEED teachers to continue to bring others on board. But this will only happen if their experience has been a positive one and they see the difference it can make.

Unfortunately due to the small numbers of respondents, this doesn’t really provide us with anything valid to make further decisions about which Year levels we need to target. I could make an assumption that Year 7 / 8 teachers are more invested in the success of #NZreadaloud as they are prepared to give their feedback. Or it could be that other teachers are not in the FB group where the survey was shared. GET IN THE FACEBOOK GROUP!

Although the majority of respondents were happy with their experience, the one respondent who wasn’t is what we need to focus on – WHY is this?

And here is something we can work on … our team leaders need to be ACTIVE in promoting good Digital Citizenship from the other teachers in their group. They need to ensure they are regularly communicating with teachers in their team and leading the way in regards to inappropriate commenting. The other issue which has arisen here is the lack of commitment from some teachers to the process. #NZreadaloud is not a ‘programme’ where you join and leave the rest up to the team leader. #NZreadaloud is not a ‘programme’ you join where ‘questions’ and ‘other stuff’ is provided to you. #NZreadaloud is about building other leaders and teachers having their own agency – what activities does the book lend itself to? Do we ALWAYS have to have ‘activities’ for the kids to ‘do’? Sometimes a hearty discussion in class and / or kids leading their own discussions in Edmodo or Twitter is just as valuable (if not more). If you sign up you need to understand this.

And then there is ALL this great feedback. THIS is the stuff which we as a team see and know. When it is done ‘properly’ with commitment AND NOT AN ADD-ON #NZreadaloud blows us away with what we see happen in the classroom. More importantly what the kids say about it.

 

I think the comment which stands out to me is ‘teachers need to take ownership’. Like I mentioned before, #NZreadaloud is not a ‘programme’ which you sign up for and others do the mahi for you. It is a collaborative initiative which was started originally because ‘why do we have to teach reading the way we have always done it’? #NZreadaloud is for teachers who want something more now, something different, something which can integrate other curriculum areas, something which flattens the walls of our classrooms and provides opportunities for transformational use of the devices our kids use in the classroom.

BUT it takes commitment on your part to involve yourself just like we are asking our kids to involve themselves. We need to model curiosity, we need to model how we post in Edmodo and ask questions to deepen their thinking, we need to set up connections via Google Hangouts or Twitter, we need to go into #NZreadaloud with ENTHUSIASM and belief that this can be something more than what they have had before. We MUST be prepared to demonstrate what a great reader does – act the stories out! Bring some emotion to the story. This is the stuff that will engage our kids. Let #NZreadaloud lead the inquiries your kids do. Pull out the wonderings from your kids and let them investigate these. Along the way teach them how to sketchnote – a lifelong skill. So much, so much.

I will leave it there now.

Some things for all participants to think about. Some work-ons for us as a team managing the Year groups –  to endeavour to help out our leaders and ensure they understand their vital role if we want to continue to build this connected literacy experience.

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

Kerri

 

 

 

 

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About Kerri

I am an Intermediate School teacher. I graduated with my Post Graduate Diploma in Education with a Teaching and Learning Endorsement (Distinction) in 2016. During 2017 I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice: Digital and Collaborative Learning through Mindlab. Having been inspired by many educators whose blogs I have come across on my professional learning journey, I started this blog as a way for me to keep track of things I am learning and reflecting on in my practice.

5 thoughts on “What You Are Saying

  1. Hi there, I have used read around nz twice with different ages and love it. Sorry I didn’t see the survey or I would have filled it out because I realise how hard you all work. So sorry. Kay- Dipton

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    • Hi Kay, thanks for the response. I think my blog post must have come across a bit rude and it wasn’t meaning to! I know people are busy:) I have re-posted the Google Form in the FB group if you would like to fill it in:) Thanks for your support for #NZreadaloud.

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  2. Started here at the beginning of the year and went onto the Global Read Aloud and it has been life changing for most of the students as well as me. Kerri you and the team leaders do a great job and I can assure there is much less help with the Global one as they seem to think we are the experts. In self reflections done this week, there is not one student who hasn’t mentioned the programme and how it felt to get our letters from our penpals. I realise I have learnt how to run it better as well so if you are thinking of trying to start , do it and I encourage us who return to support this great initiative.

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    • Hi there! I really appreciate your response here. It is nice to know that you have had a positive experience with #NZreadaloud and Global Read Aloud. I know what you mean by the global connections thinking WE Kiwis are the experts – maybe we are:) I love that you say your kids have mentioned #NZreadaloud in their reflections – this is where it matters most. And lastly, I hope teachers will get on board and try connected literacy like you say – DO IT! There are plenty of people around to help out and get you started.

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