Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
Beaver Creek Elementary is located on the west side of Surrey near the Delta border. Our school supports the learning for approximately 500 students. We host a number of different programs including the Grade 5-7 Punjabi program and a number of community and school partnerships including a warm and welcoming breakfast program, Attendance Matters, Creative U, PLAY and Dream Camp.
The strength of our students is demonstrated through their respectful interactions with one another and with the staff. Students are connected to their culture as shown at the many festivals we celebrate. The students are welcoming, kind and appreciative.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Over 90% of the students are English Language Learners or English as a Second Dialect learners. Many of our students are recent immigrants to Canada and are developing in their learning English. Almost 10% of our students identify their Aboriginal heritage. As a staff, we have been examining how we can support our students develop deeper comprehension when they read. Our school wide Reading Benchmark data (Fountas and Pinnell) demonstrates that our students, including our ELL and ESD students, are not meeting expectations in reading. Many students are able to decode the words but are unable to discuss the text and make meaning of what they have read.
Team teachers completed the Fountas and Pinnel Reading Benchmarks assessment for all students, Grade 1 to 7. Each grade was assigned a different colour post it note and individual students were plotted on this grid. LST teachers discussed the results with individual classroom teachers. Having this visual was helpful in making the needs of the students explicit and LST/classroom teacher teams were able to plan for instruction together. The information made grouping students by their instructional level easier. Reading Benchmark assessments will be repeated in February and May. LST teachers have now transferred the data collected to an Excel spreadsheet so that teachers can continue to track individual student growth, over time.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
For the 2016/17 school year, both the primary and intermediate team will focus on increasing reading comprehension for our students.
4. What professional learning do we need?
Beaver Creek teachers participate in continued learning around effective reading practices. Primary and Intermediate teachers are currently using the Adrienne Gear, Reading Power program to guide their collaboration. Primary teachers are working on fiction reading strategies focussing on connecting and visualizing while Intermediate teachers are supporting their students with non-fiction reading strategies within the Social Studies curriculum. A group of intermediate teachers have applied for release time as part of the Priority Practices Inquiry Grant project. Currently, these teachers and students are focussed on text features.
5. What is our plan?
In September, the Beaver Creek Learner Support looked to the data to determine the need was greatest at the Grade 2 and 3 level. They have organized their schedule to give focussed reading intervention using Levelled Literacy Intervention for our most vulnerable readers. Classroom and LST teachers will collaboratively complete the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment three times per year – September, February and May. Classroom teachers continue to offer guided reading practice in primary classrooms and literature circles in the intermediate classrooms with a focus on understanding what the students have read and to help develop background knowledge and vocabulary. Classroom teachers are continuing to collaborate with the Early Literacy teacher in the Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms. Learning Resource funds will be targeted to expand the Reading Power section of the library to provide teachers with “gem books” for each reading strategy and to expand our collection of library books that reflect the diversity of our students. Release time will be provided for teachers to meet and discuss the implementation of reading strategies and the use of formative assessment strategies. Grade 3 to 7 teachers have been engaged with reading Comprehension and Collaboration, Engagement and Understanding – Harvey and Daniels. We will work collaboratively with District Literacy Helping Teachers to guide our work in the area of thinking and formative assessment. We will purposefully share our success and challenges with one another at staff meetings and lunch sessions. We will create a reading buzz with families through an evening Reading Carnival in November and an ongoing Home Reading program.
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
- Teachers will reflect on their practice to identify what is working well and what areas they need support (self assessment)
Click on the video above to hear our Teacher Librarian reflect on our students and on her collaborative work with teachers.
“Joanne showed me some really neat strategies to help my students listen to the ‘voice inside’ when they are doing their reading. One strategy that stood out is to model reading. Another strategy she taught me was the self-monitoring ‘click or clunk’. Research suggests when students are monitoring their own comprehension and becoming aware of what it takes to make meaning this can help students who have difficulty reading.” -Mary Lockie, Grade 5/6 Teacher
- Students will be able to express their thinking about what they have read with increasing complexity and with more sophisticated vocabulary
- Students will be able to demonstrate that they can go “beyond the text” when discussing what they have read
- Students will express how they feel as a reader, which strategies they use (self assessment) including
o Making connections to themselves and to the world around them o Making predictions about the text and inferences within the text o Asking questions about what they have read o Visualizing pictures in their head while reading or listening to stories
“Look at the text features and pictures when you don’t want to read the whole thing. It will help you understand a little about the reading.” -Sidak, Grade 4
“If you want to find the details look at the text features. That way, you won’t have to read from the beginning.” -Abdullah, Grade 4
“Text features are important because you need to get a good understanding of the book before you can zoom in. You need to be able to know what you are reading to get more information in your brain.” -Simrit, Grade 5 “In Science, we had to teach our classmates about the effect of littering on the environment. I really liked the project because teaching makes you learn your topic” -Anmol, Grade 7
7. Based on the evidence, does our inquiry require adjustment?
We are at the beginning of our inquiry cycle and will post here once we have spent some more time working with our students and collaborating with one another.